Tuesday was kickoff for impeachment bowl
The U.S. Senate, on Tuesday, opened its impeachment trial with a marathon debate about how to conduct the high-level, constitutional super bowl.
The controversial conflict is a televised demonstration featuring prime elements of the United States’ triple branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial.
This profound exhibition offers citizens a rare view of the Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court who is the presiding officer over the trial.
President Donald J. Trump, who is the subject of the impeachment that was voted on by the House of Representatives, spent Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland, attending an international summit on climate change.
In addition, Tuesday’s session provided the first glimpses of how House Democrats and the president’s lawyers will present their cases.
With the cable television networks airing nearly all of the trial Tuesday, both parties took advantage of the exposure, each bitterly accusing the other of lying about the facts and endangering the nation’s democracy.
The news item that led many of the stories involved Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who backed off some of his proposed rules: Easing plans for a tight two-day schedule and agreeing that House evidence will be included.
His switch occurred after senators, including some fellow GOP officials, protested his original plan.
By the time the prolonged session ended shortly before 2 a.m., Wednesday in Washington D.C., Senate Republicans had rejected 11 Democratic amendments, most of which sought subpoenas for White House officials.
On Wednesday, the White House professionals defending Trump passed up a chance to force a vote to dismiss the impeachment charges against the president before arguments got underway.
A motion to dismiss could still be offered later in the trial. The GOP congressional leaders have counseled the White House that it is better politically, for the trial to run its course and deliver a full acquittal of the president, rather than cutting it short and enabling Democrats to argue the result is illegitimate.
Democrats warned that the rules package from Trump’s ally, the Senate GOP leader, could force midnight sessions that would keep most Americans in the dark and create a sham proceeding.
”This is not a process for a fair trial, this is the process for a rigged trial,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leading the prosecution, told reporters. He called it a “cover-up.”
He opened his arguments before the Senate playing a video of Trump calling for more witnesses to testify. Schiff noted the sudden change in proposed rules made moments before he rose to address the chamber. “The facts will come out in the end,” he said. The question is, will they come out in time?”
McConnell said the president’s lawyers will finally receive a level playing field, contrasting it with the House impeachment inquiry.
Trump had endorsed the proposal from his attorneys to discourage the president’s team from seeking a swift dismissal.
Observers of the trial said that dismissal vote in the first week would almost certainly have failed to attract a majority of senators, dividing Republicans and dealing the president an early symbolic defeat.
No one knows how this trial will end, but millions of people are watching the proceedings, proving that a huge plurality of voters are intensely interested in the developments in this dramatic political production.
President Donald J.Trump’s impeachment trial opened full throttle on Tuesday and there is intense interest on the now-unknown outcome.