United States President Donald Trump's historic impeachment trial begins in the Senate today. This is only the third time in history that an American President is facing an impeachment trial, with Democrats calling for his removal from office and Republicans determined to acquit him.

With just 10 months before Americans go to the polls to decide whether to re-elect Trump, the 100 members of the Senate will gather at 1 P.M. local time (1800 GMT) with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding over the trial. The lawmakers, sworn in last week as jurors, will decide if Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress as charged in two articles of impeachment. These articles were approved last month by the House of Representatives. Articles stated that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 US election to help him win and then tried to thwart a congressional probe of his behavior.

Part of the scandal centers on a July 25 telephone call in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden. He was Trump's potential opponent in the November vote.

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives and led the investigation, accuse Trump of manipulating Ukraine by withholding nearly 400 million US Dollar in military aid for its war against Russian-backed separatists. Trump's lawyers responded with a 110-page brief submitted to the Senate on Monday. They said that the president did nothing wrong.

The brief echoes the repeated assertions of the 73-year-old President Trump that the saga is a political witch hunt and a hoax, and that his phone call with the Ukrainian leader was perfect. The White House has said it expects the trial to be over in two weeks. 

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