Republican Senators expressed growing frustration on Thursday with the arguments of U.S. House prosecutors against President Donald Trump, as Democrats accused the President of trying to use the government of Ukraine to help his 2020 re-election campaign by launching investigations linked to former Vice President Joe Biden and a 2016 election conspiracy theory involving Ukraine.
"It's the same story, the same videos," said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), as GOP grumbling grew about the trial. "Apparently we're going to hear it all day again, same things over again."
"It seems like Groundhog Day in the Senate," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). "It is the same thing, day after day after day."
On the Senate floor, Democrats spent a second day diving into great detail about the President's actions regarding Ukraine, accusing him of trying to get a foreign country to meddle in U.S. elections.
The second day wrapped up with an impassioned speech by lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who implored GOP Senators to acknowledge that the President does not have the interests of the nation in mind.
“You know you can't count on him; none of us can,” Schiff said.
“You know you can't trust this President to do what's right for this country,” Schiff added. “You can trust he'll do what's right for Donald Trump.”
.@RepAdamSchiff: "We believe we will have made the case overwhelmingly of the President's guilt. He has done what he's charged with... but I want to address one other thing tonight. Okay he's guilty, does he really need to be removed?"— CSPAN (@cspan) January 24, 2020
Watch full - https://t.co/Z69QyvGKdw pic.twitter.com/1UQ68pzwAY
U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial continues with @RepJeffries: "The Ukrainian government only needed to announce the investigations because they were phony and they simply designed to cheat in the 2020 election"— CSPAN (@cspan) January 24, 2020
Watch live -- https://t.co/UJ3qWrevyB pic.twitter.com/gSA6bOHD1U
.@SenatorLankford on the House Impeachment Manager's case so far: "On Tuesday, all day, we heard the same stories, same videos. On Wednesday, all day the same stories, same videos."— CSPAN (@cspan) January 23, 2020
Watch live -- https://t.co/UJ3qWrevyB pic.twitter.com/Pcs4iPkZTX
In their second day of arguments, Democrats focused entirely on the abuse of power charge against the President, as Schiff led the House impeachment managers in laying out the case.
"It's improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government to investigate a U.S. citizen, and a political opponent," Schiff said, referring to former Vice President Biden.
Schiff also mocked the President for embracing the 'Crowdstrike' conspiracy theory, noting that Mr. Trump asked the leader of Ukraine to see if the email server of the Democratic National Committee - which was hacked by Russian intelligence in 2016 - was now being hidden inside Ukraine.
"This completely bogus, Kremlin-pushed, conspiracy theory," Schiff said.
"So when President Trump asks for a favor," said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), "the only priority was President Trump's corrupt demand for phony investigations."
"This is corruption and abuse of power in its purest form," Jeffries added on Thursday night.
In their arguments, Schiff and other managers repeatedly indicated to Senators how the Trump Administration had blocked requests for witnesses and documents, as Democrats still hope to find four Republicans who would vote for witness testimony by Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, and others.
The country is not going to accept the first impeachment trial in the history of the nation with no witnesses. It’s just not.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 24, 2020
Because that’s not a trial. It’s a coverup.
So far we’ve heard a compelling case that the President withheld Ukraine aid to get an investigation into his political rival and the debunked Crowdstrike conspiracy theory.— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) January 24, 2020
If the President disputes these facts, then we need the witnesses and documents that can refute them. pic.twitter.com/zmW3SkJRYL
But there was no real evidence that GOP opposition to witness testimony was going to crack, as Senate GOP leaders have warned any effort to subpoena witnesses could create a messy court battle with the White House which could take months to resolve.
"I want to end this thing sooner, rather than later," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who said he was not interested in extra witnesses sought by Democrats.
Democrats will finish their arguments on Friday with a focus on the obstruction of Congress charge, as they continue to detail the numerous ways the White House defied supoenas from House impeachment investigators.
The President's legal team has been sitting silent on the Senate floor - they are expected to start their defense of Mr. Trump on Saturday.