Trump Impeachment Trial Day Four: What to Watch For As House Managers Make The Case For President's Removal

President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on Thursday will pick up exactly where it left off as the House-appointed managers continue to make their case for his conviction and removal from office.

The trial will reconvene at 1 p.m. Eastern time, with more opening arguments from the seven impeachment managers chosen by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to essentially serve as prosecutors in the proceedings.

Over the next two days, Democrats will use their remaining time to demonstrate that Trump had inappropriate dealings with Ukraine, according to Representative Adam Schiff. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and lead manager, outlined his team's approach on Wednesday.

He said senators "will hear the details of the president's corrupt scheme in narrative form, illustrating the timeline of the effort through the testimony of numerous witnesses who came before the House, as well as the documents and materials we collected as evidence during the investigation."

To do so, the managers intend to use many video clips, including Trump's own comments on Ukraine and impeachment, as well as footage of the House's public hearings with key witnesses like Bill Taylor, formerly the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Democrats allege that Trump abused his power when he tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for the release of nearly $400 million in military aid. They also charge that he obstructed Congress when he refused to hand over documents and witnesses during the House's impeachment investigation.

After the House impeachment managers highlight the facts of their case, Schiff said, they will move on to provide lawmakers with a "constitutional framework of impeachment." That means they will explain how impeachment was "envisioned by the founders" to remedy the kind of corrupt action Trump is charged with. Throughout the House's impeachment probe and during the first few days of the trial, congressional Republicans have accused Democrats of hijacking the impeachment process and rigging it.

house impeachment managers trump impeachment trail
From left, House impeachment managers Jason Crow, Adam Schiff, Sylvia Garcia, Zoe Lofgren, Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries talk to reporters before the third day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on January 22. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Trump has denied the impeachment charges and claims his communication with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was "perfect." Trump has also hurled insults at the House managers during the trial, calling Schiff a "con job" and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler a "sleazebag."

"We're doing very well," Trump told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum. "I got to watch enough. I thought our team did a very good job. But honestly, we have all the material. They don't have the material."

The House-appointed impeachment managers are allowed to present their case for a total of 24 hours over the course of three days. After that, Trump's legal defense team will take the Senate floor (likely starting on Saturday) to present their arguments as to why the president is innocent and fight back against the Democrats' charges.

As the opening arguments come to an end, the fight over calling new witnesses is expected to take center stage. Under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposed rules, senators will vote on the issue mid-trial. If the chamber votes no on witnesses, which would require only a simple majority, a decision on whether to convict Trump will largely be based on evidence already made public.

Schiff used his opening remarks on Wednesday to remind senators of their responsibility to act as impartial jurors during the trial. A two-thirds majority of 67 senators is needed to convict a sitting president during an impeachment trial, which means that 20 Republicans would have to join with the Democrats to remove Trump.

"It is up to you to be the tribunal Hamilton envisioned. It is up to you to show the American people and yourselves his confidence and those of the other founders was rightly placed," he said. "The Constitution entrusts you to the responsibility of acting as impartial jurors, have a fair trial and weigh the evidence before you, no matter what your party affiliation or vote in the previous election or the next. Our duty is to the Constitution and the rule of law.