A member of US President Donald Trump's legal team said that Democrats were using Rudy Guiliani as a "colourful distraction," as the president's impeachment trial continued in the Senate in Washington DC on Monday.

"The House managers would have you believe that Mr. Giuliani is at the centre of this controversy. They've anointed him the proxy villain of the tale, the leader of a rogue operation," said Trump lawyer Jane Raskin.

She continued stating that "Mayor Giuliani began investigating Ukrainian corruption and interference in the 2020 election way back in November of 2018. A full six months before vice president Biden announced his candidacy and four months before the release of the Muller report."

Democrats allege that Guiliani was a key player in Trump's alleged efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his family for corruption.

The US president is facing impeachment over charges of abuse of power as well as obstruction of Congress, but with a Republican majority in the Senate and a super-majority required for a conviction, the president looks set to remain in office.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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