It’s unknown yet whether additional witnesses will become a part of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but one thing that we can say with near certainty is that Trump himself will never testify.
However, that doesn’t mean that Trump’s voice won’t be heard on the Senate floor, as Democratic House managers have brought forward video evidence to demonstrate the president’s alleged propensity to request foreign nations to interfere in U.S. elections.
Specifically, Democrats are emphasizing three instances of Trump doing so. The Ukraine scandal, of course, is what instigated the impeachment process to begin with.
While there’s no video evidence of Trump attempting to coerce that nation into investigating the president’s political rivals during the infamous July 25 call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Democrats have showcased Trump’s comments after the impeachment inquiry began — including comments he made October 3, 2019, in which he suggested doing so was perfectly fine.
“If they [Ukraine] were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens,” Trump said on that date.
In the same set of comments, Trump also made a “soft” ask to China to do the same, not directly asking Beijing to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, but saying that they should do so.
During opening arguments, Democrats used Trump tapes that portray him as the leader of the scheme to pressure Ukraine for political favors, not an outsider player. @FoxReports recaps the latest in the Trump impeachment trial.https://t.co/sJwaby93dc pic.twitter.com/pPavxSr5EQ
— New Day (@NewDay) January 23, 2020
“Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump said.
There’s no evidence of malfeasance by either of the Bidens related to Hunter’s business dealings in either country, the New York Times has reported.
Democratic House managers also brought about comments Trump made in July 2016, as a candidate for president, to demonstrate a pattern of him inviting foreign interference into American elections. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said at the time, according to The Atlantic.
Russian hackers did indeed make attempts to break into Hillary Clinton’s email server that same day, just hours after Trump made the request. In March 2019, Trump implied his comments were not meant to be taken seriously.
“I’ve learned, because with the fake news, if you tell a joke, if you’re sarcastic, if you’re having fun with the audience. If you say something like ‘Russia, please if you can, get us Hillary Clinton’s emails, please, Russia, please, please get us the emails,” Trump said, according to Vanity Fair.
Videos of these commentaries from the president have been accompanied by reminders from House managers of testimonies from Trump administration officials, in which several State Department and national security aides have suggested they, too, believed Trump’s actions with Ukraine constituted improper behavior from a sitting commander-in-chief.