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Trump Rails Against Democratic Lawmakers Amid Partisan Standoff over Senate Impeachment Trial


President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media following a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

U.S. President Donald Trump berated Democratic lawmakers over his impeachment Tuesday as a legislative standoff continues over a Senate impeachment trial.

"They treated us very unfairly and now they want to be treated fairly in the Senate," Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump also took aim specifically at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for indefinitely postponing the sending of the articles of impeachment to Republican-controlled Senate so a trial can begin.

"She hates all of the people that voted for me and the Republican Party," he declared. "She's doing a disservice to the country."

On a near straight party line vote, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against Trump last Wednesday, making him only the third U.S. president to be impeached in the country's 243-year history. He is accused of abusing the power of the presidency to benefit himself politically and then obstructing congressional efforts to investigate his actions.

Last week, U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell dismissed calls by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to hear testimony from four officials during a Senate impeachment trial, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. The officials had refused to testify during the House impeachment inquiry of the president.

On Monday, however, McConnell softened his position, saying Republicans have not ruled out calling witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial.

"We haven't ruled out witnesses," McConnell told "Fox & Friends." on Monday. "We've said, 'Let's handle this case just like we did with President Clinton.' Fair is fair."

In addition to testimony from key witnesses, Schumer said Monday he also wants relevant emails and other documents that "will shed additional light on the administration's decision-making regarding the delay in security funding to Ukraine."

"It's hard to imagine a trial not having documents and witnesses," Schumer said, "If it does'nt have documents and witnesses, it's going to seem to most of the American people that it is a sham trial. Not to get at the facts."

Trump's impeachment stems from a July call with Ukraine's president in which Trump asked for an investigation into Joe Biden, a former vice president and a leading Democratic rival to Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Pelosi has said she will not send the articles of impeachment to the Senate or choose impeachment prosecutors until the Senate agrees on rules governing the process.

The Senate is not authorized to begin a trial until it receives the articles from the House.

Despite Trump's assertion that McConnell has complete leeway over a trial and McConnell's December 17 assertion that "I'm not impartial about this [trial] at all," the U.S. Constitution maintains that each senator should take seriously his or her oath to "do impartial justice."

Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong in his push to get Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden's lucrative work for a Ukrainian natural gas company. Trump had also called for a probe into a debunked theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

Trump made the appeal for the Biden investigations at a time when he was temporarily withholding $391 million in military aid Kyiv wanted to help fight pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The U.S. president eventually released the money in September without Zelenskiy launching the Biden investigations, proof, Republicans have said, that Trump had not engaged in a reciprocal quid pro quo deal, the military aid in exchange for the Biden probe.

Trump has on countless occasions described his late July call with Zelenskiy as "perfect," when he asked him to "do us a favor," to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine's purported role in the 2016 election. As the impeachment controversy mounted, Trump has subsequently claimed the "us" in his request to Zelenskiy referred not to him personally but to the United States.

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