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Is today the day impeachment ends?

PoliticsIs today the day impeachment ends?

Will the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump come to an end today? It might come down to a few senators’ votes on whether to allow witnesses. 

How did we get here this week?

The president’s defense team wrapped up their rebuttal to the Democrats case, arguing that the president was totally in bounds to ask about the Biden family’s business relationships in Ukraine. 

“All we’re saying is that there was a basis to talk about this, to raise this issue, and that is enough,” said Pam Bondi, one of the president’s defense attorneys.

Then it was time for questions.

Both Democrats and Republicans were able to ask questions of either the House impeachment managers or the president’s defense team. 

In response to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz about whether it mattered if Trump engaged in a “quid pro quo,” attorney Alan Dershowitz argued that presidents cannot be removed from office for an action they believe could help get them reelected.

Dershowitz, a member of Trump’s defense team, said motive was what mattered and if an act was in the public interest, it was not impeachable. Dershowitz said Thursday that his answer is being “willfully distorted.”

Then on Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul walked out on the trial after Chief Justice John Roberts refused to read his question. 

Paul said his question didn’t name the alleged whistleblower — although a version of it that he tweeted mentioned the name of an official some Republicans have speculated is the whistleblower.

So for now, we wait. The trial starts back up at 1 p.m. ET.

People in the crowd cheer for President Donald Trump as he arrives at the Knapp Center for a campaign rally on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Des Moines.

Meanwhile, Trump headed to Michigan Thursday, to tour an axle manufacturing plant, and then to Iowa, for a rally with supporters at Drake University (where the Democrats debated just a few weeks ago.) 

“The American people and frankly people all over the world know it’s a hoax,” Trump said on the eve of the pivotal vote that will decide whether senators will hear witnesses in the trial. 

Trump of course was not the only politician in Iowa. It’s 4 days before the Iowa caucus, so almost everyone running (who isn’t also a juror in the impeachment trial) was canvassing the state. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden took the opportunity to offer a contrast to Iowa caucusgoers, telling them ‘character is on the ballot.’

“Ladies and gentlemen, in November America will have the chance to answer the question: Does the character of the president matter? Yes or no,” Biden asked a crowd in Waukee, Iowa.

Elsewhere, former mayor Pete Buttigieg offered some of his harshest critiques for his closest rivals, trying to wrap up a top finish in Iowa and carry momentum into the New Hampshire primary. 

“Here we are, at this moment where we’ve got a historic majority. We’ve got to galvanize, not polarize that American majority so that we can win, and so that we can govern and actually get these things done,” Buttigieg said. “And that’s what I’m offering.”

Thanks, as always, for reading. The USA TODAY Network will have more than 60 journalists on the ground in Iowa Monday for the caucuses. Stay tuned. — Annah Aschbrenner

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