Democrats laid out their arguments that US president Donald Trump met the standard for impeachment. He is accused of obstruction of Congress, as well as for abusing the power of the US president’s office by temporarily freezing nearly $400 million in military aid in an effort to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden.

Democratic lawmaker Adam Schiff explained how Trump requested foreign interference in the US elections, and “abused the powers of his office to seek help from abroad”.

“President Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to a strategic partner at war with Russia to secure foreign help with his re-election. In other words, to cheat. If this conduct is not impeachable, then nothing is”, Schiff said.

“I didn’t hear anything new at all”, Republican Senator John Barrasso defended Trump. Trump called the proceedings a “hoax . At the beginning of the trial he was in Davos, where he attended the World Economic Forum and used the opportunity to praise the US economy.

After the procedure, Senators will have 16 hours to ask questions of the House managers and the defense team in writing. Then, the Senate will vote on whether to produce documents and witnesses in the trial that Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for.

Democrats need four Republicans to vote with them. Even if they succeed, it still remains unlikely that two-thirds of the Senate will vote to remove Trump from office.

Trump has become the third US president in history to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.