As the US Senate formally opened the impeachment trial on whether to remove Donald Trump from office, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog on Thursday dealt the Republican president a blow by concluding that the White House violated the law by withholding security aid approved for Ukraine by US lawmakers.
Democrat Adam Schiff, who heads a team of seven House of Representatives members who will serve as prosecutors, appeared on the Senate floor to read the two charges passed by the House on December 18 accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress arising from his dealings with Ukraine.
The trial's opening formalities continued, with US Chief Justice John Roberts sworn in to preside over the proceedings. Roberts then swore in all 99 senators who were present to serve as jurors.
After the swearings-in, the Senate adjourned until 1:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Tuesday, when the prosecution begins laying out its case against the president in only the third impeachment trial in US history.
The abuse of power cited by the House included Trump's withholding of $391 million (€351m) in security aid for Ukraine, a move Democrats have said was aimed at pressuring Kiev into investigating political rival Joe Biden, the president's possible opponent in the 2020 US general election.