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Here's what's next in the Senate impeachment trial

1 11 0
17.01.2020

with help from Melanie Zanona, Sarah Ferris and Daniel Lippman

AND SO IT BEGINS: President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial has officially begun, marking the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. The seven Democratic House managers on Thursday presented to the Senate the two articles of impeachment against the president — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Chief Justice John Roberts arrived to the chamber around 2 p.m., accompanied by four senators and wearing a plain black robe (no gold stripes). Senators then took their oath to “do impartial justice” and signed the oath book. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who had a family medical issue, was the only senator missing. He will be sworn in Tuesday when the Senate returns. More on Thursday’s ceremony from Marianne: https://politi.co/2FTZxuC

What’s next: Now that the ceremonial proceedings are over, the Senate will begin the impeachment trial in earnest Tuesday at 1 p.m., starting with a vote on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s organizing resolution, which will set up the trial procedures. Some senators have already seen the text of the resolution, but it has yet to be publicly revealed.

Senate Democrats have made it no secret they want the chamber to decide on witnesses at the outset of the trial. But the GOP plans to circle back to that decision later once the Senate hears arguments from House managers and the president’s defense.

GOP reluctance, however, won’t stop Democrats from forcing votes on the four witnesses they want, which include acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former Trump national security adviser John Bolton. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday he expects “that we will have votes on these witnesses on Tuesday but can't be sure until we see the resolution that McConnell has put together.” Once the trial parameters are set, arguments will begin.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) issued a statement Thursday emphasizing that “prior to hearing the statement of the case and the Senators asking questions, [she] will not support any attempts by either side to subpoena documents or witnesses.” Collins noted it is likely she will “support a motion to call witnesses” after hearing the case and having questions answered, as she did during the Clinton impeachment trial.

There will still be impeachment news over the long weekend. The House has until 5 p.m. Saturday to file its trial brief and the president’s defense team’s brief is due Monday at noon. The House has until noon Tuesday to file its rebuttal. Follow our investibros @kyledcheney and@andrewdesiderio, who will be covering the ins and outs.

Related reads: “For the senators who will judge Trump, an incomplete story to consider” from the NY Times’ Peter Baker: https://nyti.ms/38bFZ0M; “Senate GOP hopes for a drama-free impeachment trial while bracing for Trump and his legal team” from the Washington........

© Politico