Trump impeachment: Senate approves trial rules, rejecting witnesses

WASHINGTON (AP) - After nearly 13 hours of debate, the Senate adjourned early Wednesday morning upon approving the rules in a party-line vote for President Donald Trump’s trial on two articles of impeachment.

The Democrats failed in their efforts to gain Republican agreement for issuing subpoenas for documents and witnesses, though such issues can be revisited. After one particularly bitter exchange, Chief Justice John Roberts admonished both the Democratic House managers and the White House counsel to “remember where they are.”

More partisan disputes are expected later Wednesday.

Earlier Tuesday, a Democratic victory came when the Senate’s majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, dropped plans for two late-night sessions to hear opening arguments, instead agreeing to spreading them over three days. The change came after some of his fellow Republican senators objected.

McConnell also said evidence from the House impeachment proceedings would be included in the record.

Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled in the session. The trial quickly burst into a partisan fight as proceedings began unfolding at the Capitol.

“The president is accused of coercing a foreign power to interfere in our elections to help himself,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “It’s the job of the Senate to determine if these very serious charges are true. The very least we can do is examine the facts, review the documents, hear the witnesses, try the case.”

Trump said anew that the whole thing was a hoax, and he said he was sure it would “work out fine.” His lawyers are seeking swift acquittal.

Legal filings to the Senate have laid out the arguments that will be made in the trial, where Trump faces allegations of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Democrats and Republicans disagree on whether the president’s conduct amounts to an impeachable offense and whether the allegations are sufficient to prove he is guilty.


Posted by Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Democrats say Trump abused his power by urging the Ukrainian president to announce an investigation into political rival Joe Biden while withholding military aid to the country. Trump’s lawyers contend there’s no evidence beyond hearsay that the president conditioned the release of aid on Ukraine agreeing to an investigation.

When the trial begins in earnest, Trump will be attending a global leaders conference in Davos, Switzerland. The president’s participation in the annual summit will test his ability to balance his anger over being impeached with a desire to project leadership on the world stage.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.