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The Essence Of The Senate Impeachment Trial In 2 Videos

A sketch artist's rendering of White House counsel Pat Cipollone speaking in the Senate chamber during the impeachment trial against President Trump on Jan. 21. In the trial, senators play the role of jurors, and Chief Justice John Roberts presides.
Dana Verkouteren

Opening arguments for both sides in the Trump impeachment trial ended on Tuesday. The trial isn't over, but the core argument in each side's case is clear.

The Democratic impeachment managers and President Trump's defense team each had 24 hours over three days to lay out their arguments. ( Learn more about the trial process here.)

The Democrats charge Trump, who was impeached last month by the House of Representatives, with abusing the power of the presidency and with obstructing Congress — and that his actions merit conviction and removal from office. Trump's lawyers maintain the president's innocence and argue that none of Trump's actions rise to the level of impeachment.

These clips show the leaders of each side, explaining the essence of their arguments:

White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Tuesday the leader of Trump's team, Pat Cipollone, argued that if senators vote to remove Trump from office, they would deny Americans' right to choose their president. "Why tear up their ballots?" he asked senators. Watch a clip of his remarks.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

On the final day of his remarks, last Friday, lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff declared Trump a "threat to the integrity of our democracy," who puts his own interests over the nation's. Watch a clip of his remarks.

The senators, who act as jurors in the trial, will now consider these arguments, among others, as they decide on their next steps.

The trial continues Wednesday.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.