The White House has named a number of high-profile names to US President Donald Trump's defence team, ahead of the start of the impeachment trial in the Senate next Tuesday.
The team defending the Republican president will be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump private attorney Jay Sekulow, the White House said.
Trump adviser and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi and former independent counsel Robert Ray will also be on the team. The White House also said Jane Raskin, one of Trump's private lawyers, and Eric Herschmann, another former independent counsel, would be on the president's legal team.
The legal team also includes Ken Starr, who investigated former president Bill Clinton, and Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted on December 18 to impeach Trump on two charges arising from his dealings with Ukraine - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - after an investigation that centered on his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden, the president's possible Democratic opponent in the November 3 election.
The trial in the Republican-led Senate formally got underway on Thursday with the swearing in of Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the case. All 100 senators also took an oath to follow ‘impartial justice.’ Proceedings will resume on Tuesday with senators debating rules for how the trial will be conducted, and the start of opening arguments from House managers and White House lawyers.
The Supreme Courts chief justice will preside over the trial. Seven House lawmakers, who are called ‘managers’ will prosecute the case against Trump. The senators will vote on both articles of impeachment. A two-thirds majority of the Senate would be required to convict and remove Trump, which is unlikely in the chamber where Republicans outnumber Democrats 53 to 47. (QNA)
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