by Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House Democrats presenting the impeachment case against President Donald Trump finished their three days of opening arguments late Friday.
Since the trial's first week has been marked by much drama, with Republicans engaging in emotional outbursts and interrupting Democrats, and Democrats calling the process "rigged," experts expect more knock-down drag-out fighting from both sides as the trial continues.
"There will continue to be lots of emotion surrounding the Senate trial because each side feels intensely," Brookings Institution senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.
"That will not change anytime soon," West said.
"Democrats feel the trial is rigged because the Senate so far has not agreed to hear any witnesses. That will play to their narrative that Trump is seeking to rig the election."
Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua that the vitriol and high emotion will continue to be on display.
Indeed, both sides are using the trial to rile up their base, experts said, with the GOP expressing outrage over what the party sees as Democrats trying to deprive voters of their choice of president, and Democrats lambasting the White House for what they describe as Trump's unbridled corruption.
That dynamic reflects a sharp partisan split in a country whose electorate is increasingly divided along ideological lines.
While the outcome of the trial seems certain - the GOP-led Senate is unlikely to impeach Trump - each side hopes that the public spectacle will help create a win at the ballot box in November.
Galdieri said the trial "keeps Republican voters in line by providing them with fresh sources of outrage to distract from the substance of the impeachment articles."
"For Democratic voters who have opposed Trump from day one, this is likewise more fuel for activism, volunteering, and the run-up to the election," Galdieri said.
On Saturday, Trump's legal defense team will take the stage to refute the managers' claims and argue for the president.
Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), opined that "the real mystery is, how will the defense team handle their 24 hours or less - they can't be emotional for the whole time period, one would assume."
"The emotion is not all faked. Each side perceives its own situation as desperate," Ramsay told Xinhua, noting the bitter partisan rancor.
The Democrats' main accusation revolves around a July phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump allegedly threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine in an effort to pressure Kiev to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, who could face off against the president in the 2020 elections. Biden's son has had business dealings in Ukraine.
The White House continues to deny any wrongdoing, saying the Democrats are simply playing power politics and want to prevent Americans from choosing their own president.