Trump's team asks for acquittal, says 'time for this to end'
WASHINGTON: Saying "it is time for this to end", US President Donald Trump's legal team appealed to the US Senate on Tuesday to acquit him in his impeachment trial and sought to marginalise former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive allegations about Mr Trump's conduct.
Mr Trump's lawyers wrapped up their third and final day of opening arguments, with the crucial question of calling trial witnesses, including Mr Bolton, still unresolved in a Senate controlled by the President's fellow Republicans and almost certain to vote to keep him in office as he seeks re-election on Nov 3.
"The election is only months away. The American people are entitled to choose their president. Overturning past elections and massively interfering with the upcoming one would cause serious and lasting damage to the people of the United States and to our great country. The Senate cannot allow this to happen," White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told the Senate.
"It is time for this to end, here and now. So we urge the Senate to reject these articles of impeachment."
The next phase of the trial involves questions from the 100 senators to the lawyers representing Mr Trump and the seven House of Representatives Democrats who have served as prosecutors.
The Democratic-led House on Dec 18 impeached Mr Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress arising from his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden.
Mr Adam Schiff, who served as the lead Democratic prosecutor in arguing the case against Mr Trump last week, said the question remained as to whether the trial would be fair or unfair, with Republicans refusing so far to allow any witness testimony or new evidence.
"A fair trial involves witnesses and it involves documents," Mr Schiff said.
The Senate may resolve the issue of whether to call witnesses in a vote on Friday or Saturday.
Mr Trump's legal team sought to minimise the importance of Mr Bolton's unpublished book manuscript that describes Mr Trump's central role in a pressure campaign aimed at getting Ukraine to investigate Mr Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in this year's election. - REUTERS