Impeachment trial: Senate rejects Democrats’ calls for early witnesses in hours-long debate

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Washington — The first day of President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate crept into early Wednesday morning as Democrats were roundly rejected in their efforts to vote on subpoenaing witnesses before opening arguments are finished.

Increasingly restless senators sat silently as House impeachment managers and White House lawyers debated eleven amendments to a resolution setting the rules for the trial. The resolution was proposed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican and staunch ally of the president.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is presiding over the trial, only the third of its type in U.S. history.

Democrats accuse Republicans of covering up a scheme by Mr. Trump to pressure Ukraine to benefit him politically, while Republicans argue Democrats should have challenged the White House in the courts to obtain the testimony and records they’re now seeking.

The McConnell resolution delays votes on subpoenaing witnesses and documents until both sides finish presenting their opening arguments. A simple majority of senators — 51 votes— is needed to approve the resolution, amendments and other motions. There are 53 Republicans in the Senate, and 47 Democrats, including two independents.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, offered a series of amendments to subpoena White House and administration officials, an effort that was doomed to fail after the first amendment was rejected in a straight party line vote of 53 to 47. Ten more amendments were proposed as the session wore on, all of which were also rejected, all but one in party line votes. Maine’s Susan Collins cast one vote with Democrats. 

The resolution was adopted in yet another party line vote.

The marathon session was adjourned after almost 13 hours, shortly before 3 a.m. Opening arguments are slated for 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Mr. Trump is expected to comment on the trial in a previously unscheduled news conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday before returning home.

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Updated 8m ago

Trump says trial “going great”

President Trump told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday he thinks the impeachment trial back home is “going great.”

He said his legal team is “doing a very good job, we have a great case.”

Mr. Trump is likely to comment much more extensively at a news conference before he flies back to Washington from Davos Wednesday.


By Brain Dakss

 


Updated 11m ago

Day One: Session lasted almost 13 hours

After a session that was just shy of 13 hours — twelve hours and 50 minutes, to be exact — the Senate finally adjourned at 1:50 a.m. It’s scheduled to reconvene at 1 p.m.


By Brain Dakss

 


Updated 11m ago

Senate finally passed McConnell’s proposed organizing resolution

After more than 12 hours of debate, the Senate approved the organizing resolution from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, without any of the 11 amendments proposed by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The vote was along party lines, 53-47.


By Brain Dakss





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