Donald Trump has again labelled his Senate impeachment trial a “witch hunt” and a “hoax” from the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, before addressing the business summit with a blustering, hyperbolic speech laying out his supposed economic and environmental achievements.
Proceedings in the upper chamber of Congress will began in earnest on Tuesday after the president was charged with abuse of power and obstruction by the House of Representatives last month. The prosecution team from the House faced the president's legal counsel, making their first appearance in the impeachment proceedings, and debated trial rules proposed by Mitch McConnell, whose gauntlet called for a brief trial without testimony or evidence and would likely end up in the president's acquittal.
House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, leading the prosecution team, argued against the Senate Majority Leader's attempts to table efforts to subpoena White House documents.
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley called Democrats "an utter joke" after attempts to draw out White House counsel Pat Cipollone as a fact witness.
A new poll from CNN has meanwhile found that 51 per cent of Americans now support Mr Trump’s removal from office and 69 per cent want to hear testimony from new witnesses like ex-national security adviser John Bolton, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, top aide Rob Blair and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey.
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