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Democrats Reiterate First Impeachment Charge on Day 2, Skeptical Senators Say 'Not Much New Here'

In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

House managers focused on the first article of impeachment during President Donald Trump's trial in the Senate Thursday. 

"The first article of impeachment charges the president with abuse of power," House impeachment manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said. "President Trump used the powers of his office to solicit a foreign nation to interfere in our elections for his own personal benefit. Note that the act of solicitation itself, just the ask, constitutes an abuse of power. But President Trump went further."

Republican senators, who hold a majority in the chamber and will vote on Trump's conviction or acquittal, exhibited no reaction.

The Democratic prosecutors argued in the impeachment trial before skeptical Republican senators and a watchful American public that Trump sought a political investigation of Biden from Ukraine for his own gain to sway the 2020 election in his favor.

Ahead of the day's proceedings, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said the Democrats were putting forward "admirable presentations." But he said, "They've basically got about one hour of presentation, and they gave it six times on Tuesday and eight times yesterday. There's just not much new here."

Trump blasted the proceedings in a Thursday morning tweet, declaring them the "Most unfair & corrupt hearing in Congressional history!"

The question of calling witnesses will be worked out after the president's team has 24 hours to present their case. The strategy of more witnesses, though, seemed all but settled. Republicans rejected Democratic efforts to get Trump aides including former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, to testify in back-to-back votes earlier this week.

Senators appear likely to repeat that rejection next week.

"I want to end this thing sooner rather than later. I don't want to turn it into a circus," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). "I think Schumer said yesterday he wouldn't trade Joe Biden. I think I know why. I want the American people to pick the next president, not me. So I think the best thing is to have oversight of Ukrainian misconduct and move on to the election. I'm not going to use my vote to extend the trial."

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