Trump impeachment trial: Senate to debate rules, procedures ahead of opening statements


WASHINGTON (WFLA) – President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate begins in earnest this week after last week’s ceremonial beginning.

The Senate convened at 12:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday to begin debating the rules and procedures of the impeachment trial.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) both delivered remarks to begin the day.

Members of the president’s legal team then addressed the Senate. They were followed by Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and lead House manager for the impeachment trial.

After hearing remarks from the legal team and Rep. Schiff, Sen. Schumer introduced amendments to Leader McConnell’s resolution on the procedures for the trial. McConnell himself made changes to his initial resolution shortly before court began.

The Senate voted to table Schumer’s amendment, but it would have called on the White House to produce documents related to communications about a July call between President Trump and newly-elected Ukrainian President Zelensky.

After the Senate voted on the first proposed amendment, Schumer then introduced a second amendment calling to subpoena documents from the state department.

Once the Senate completely votes on and approves the rules and procedures, the trial will begin in earnest. Opening statements are expected to be delivered some time Tuesday or Wednesday.

This comes after the Senate received the articles of impeachment and took its first steps to become an impeachment court last week. The House officially signed and handed over the articles of impeachment against the president on Wednesday. The seven House impeachment managers then walked to the Senate Thursday afternoon to formally read the articles. Later in the day, Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn in to preside over the trial and, in turn, swore in the senators serving as jurors.

President Trump issued his answer to the articles of impeachment over the weekend, calling them a “dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president.” The response states both articles against the president should be rejected.

The House impeachment managers filed what’s known as a replication on Monday, responding to the president’s answer and denying his defense.

“The American people entrusted President Trump with the extraordinary powers vested in his Office by the Constitution, powers which he swore a sacred Oath to use for the Nation’s benefit,” the replication states. “President Trump broke that promise. He used Presidential powers to pressure a vulnerable foreign partner to interfere in our elections for his own benefit.”

Also on Monday, President Trump’s legal team filed a trial memorandum calling the articles of impeachment “an affront to the Constitution and to our democratic institutions.” The 171-page memorandum argues against the impeachment and calls for immediate acquittal.

Nexstar is bringing you complete coverage of President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial as it begins. Our coverage started Tuesday with Digital Anchor JB BiunnoPolitical Reporter Evan Donovan and DC Correspondent Jessi Turnure.

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