Republican senators are going to support Mitch McConnell’s resolution, but democratic leader Chuck Schumer called the resolution a “national disgrace.”
The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began on Tuesday in the Senate with a dispute over the procedure for the third presidential impeachment in American history in the upper house of Congress. Senators must decide whether President Trump can be removed from office because of abuse of power and obstruction of the work of Congress – this is what the opponents from the Democratic Party accuse of the President.
The proceedings began with an hour-long debate over the resolution, in which Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell outlined the rules of impeachment and the actions that senators need to take. Democrats strongly criticized McConnell’s plan, calling it an “attempt to hush up the case” and a “national disgrace.” The Republican leader said that his party has enough votes in the Senate to support the proposed resolution.
If the Republican plan is approved, then as a result, Trump may be justified by senators as early as next week. To remove the President from power, it is necessary to get two-thirds of the votes in the Senate. However, none of the Republican senators supported the idea of impeachment.
As previously reported, McConnell’s resolution provides impeachment managers from the House of representatives – who will act during impeachment as prosecutors – and Trump’s legal team with 24 hours over two days to present their positions. The resolution calls for postponing the issue of subpoenas for the White House to provide documents and call witnesses until impeachment managers present their arguments and Trump’s lawyers respond to the charges.
Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell revised the rules of procedure proposed earlier, giving each side three days to make opening statements.
McConnell and Republicans have never hidden their desire to make the proceedings as short as possible and fully exonerate the President.
“Here in the Senate, the President’s lawyers will finally get a level playing field with the house Democrats, and will be able to present the President’s position,” McConnell said Tuesday, speaking on the Senate floor.
A few hours before the session began, the chief impeachment manager, Congressman Adam Schiff, mocked McConnell’s call for 12-hour sessions in the proceedings from Wednesday to Saturday and the refusal to consider evidence of Trump’s guilt, which was collected by the House of Representatives during hearings held in the lower house of Congress from September to December last year.
“This is an integral part of trying to hide the President’s actions,” Schiff said. He added that McConnell planned to hold a grueling hours-long hearing in the “hope that the American public will not watch” the broadcast from the Senate.
Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer called McConnell’s plan a “national disgrace” and a “fast-track trial project.”
The democratic leader said that if McConnell “has nothing to hide, why doesn’t He present it in the light of day, instead of [doing it] in the dead of night?”
Schumer said he would propose edits during the Senate debate to send subpoenas to the White House to provide documents and oblige presidential advisers who were aware of Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian President to testify at the hearing.