USA TODAY US Edition
What’s happened so far during trial
The House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on Dec. 18 on two charges: Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
It’s now up the Senate to determine by trial if those charges — officially called articles — merit removing Trump from office. The ceremonial start to the third trial of a sitting president began Jan. 16. Here’s what happened this past week during the impeachment trial.
❚ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., opened the trial on Tuesday with a marathon Senate session that stretched into early Wednesday. The Senate debated and voted on rules for how the trial will be conducted, such as when and for how they will meet each day.
❚ Democrats put forward 11 amendments that would have issued subpoenas to current and former Trump administration officials and to various government entities for relevant documents and information. A 51-vote majority was needed to decide the rules, and all were defeated in the Republican-controlled Senate.
❚ Both sides have 24 hours over three days to argue their cases. After the two sides present their cases, senators have 16 hours to ask questions. After the questions, the senators will debate and vote on whether to allow the calling of witnesses and documents.
❚ The seven House lawmakers, called managers, wrapped up a nearly ninehour day, making their case to the Senate and chronicling the evidence against Trump and his abuses of power.
❚ Democrats rehashed the testimony of House impeachment witnesses, the now-infamous July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and public statements Trump has made on the matter.
❚ They say that Trump improperly withheld nearly $400 million in military aid money that had been approved by Congress,
along with a desired meeting at the White House, so that Zelensky would announce investigations into Biden and his son, and the origins of 2016 election interference.
❚ Democratic impeachment managers homed in on the abuse of power impeachment article in their second day of opening arguments.
❚ Over another nine-hour session, the House managers attempted to persuade senators that the evidence presented in part one of their opening arguments is grounds for Trump’s removal from office based on the Constitution.
❚ House Democrats attempted to rebut a claim that Republicans have advanced in defense of Trump: The president did not commit a crime and therefore, there is no basis for impeachment.
❚ Democrats also took a deep dive into the two investigations they say Trump wanted from Ukraine: the Bidens and 2016 election interference.
❚ The Democrats wrapped up their opening arguments on Friday.
❚ Managers focused on the second impeachment article, obstruction of Congress, saying Trump’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry was an unprecedented act of obstruction.
❚ Then they looked ahead to what the Trump defense team might argue. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., urged senators to look at the facts of what Trump did in Ukraine rather than only listen to complaints about the House process.
❚ Trump’s lawyers promised to be quick and took two hours of their first day at the Senate podium to outline their case for exonerating the president.
❚ White House counsel Pat Cipollone attacked House Democrats’ credibility and accused them of omitting exculpatory evidence.
❚ They portrayed Trump as innocent of all charges and warned the senatorjurors against removing him from office – saying that would be an abuse of power and imploring them to let American voters determine Trump’s fate in November.