Here's How The U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial Will Work

Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

On Monday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made public his resolution which established the ground rules for the U.S. Senate trial regarding President Trump’s impeachment—and Democrats, in particular, aren’t happy about it. Curious where the U.S. is in the impeachment proceedings? Or wondering what exactly McConnell has proposed? Here’s everything you need to know about the state of Trump’s impeachment Senate trial.

How will the trial proceed?

McConnell’s four-page resolution has proposed, among other things, the following parameters for the trial:

  • Both the House Managers and Trump’s defence team will be granted 24 hours, over two working days, to present their case.

  • Senators may question both sides for up to 16 hours.

  • There will be four hours of argument by both parties, equally divided among them, following the questioning.

  • The U.S. Senate will then vote to determine whether they will subpoena witnesses or documents.

  • “If the Senate agrees to allow either the House of Representatives or the President to subpoena witnesses, the witnesses shall first be deposed and the Senate shall decide after deposition which witnesses shall testify, pursuant to the impeachment rules.”

  • The Senate will then vote on each article of impeachment.

What’s been the response?

Not a very positive one, at least not as far as Democratic leaders are concerned. Much of the criticism is aimed at McConnell’s parameter which limits the House Managers to present their case within two working days, which would expedite the trial. Earlier this month, McConnell had stated his intention to follow the rules set forth during Clinton’s trial; former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial also allowed 24 hours to present their case but did not impose an additional limit beyond that. (The New York Times also described two other significant differences that distinguish McConnell’s resolution from those that governed Clinton’s trial.)

“His resolution creates a trial that is rushed, with as little evidence as possible and done in the dark of night,” U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Morning Joe, following the unveiling of the resolution. “If their case is so strong, why are they afraid to present it in the light of day?”

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also criticised McConnell’s resolution, calling it a “cover-up” in a statement. “No jury would be asked to operate on McConnell’s absurdly compressed schedule, and it is obvious that no senator who votes for it is intending to truly weigh the damning evidence of the president’s attacks on our Constitution.”

What’s happening today?

Beginning at 1pm ET Tuesday (5am Wednesday AEDT), senators will likely spend much of the afternoon debating McConnell’s resolution, followed by a vote. And beginning tomorrow, opening arguments by both sides will then commence. If you want to catch the action, CBS News is live-streaming the trial on YouTube right now.


Comments

    Given he will most definitely be acquitted, shouldn't that read "Here's How The U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial Will NOT Work"?

      Only because senior Republicans have already gone on record stating they will break their sworn oaths and refuse to be impartial. No matter how corrupt Trump is, no matter what crimes he commits, they believe it’s ok. That now defines the modern Republican party.

      And more than one of them would probably end up being investigated for their part in Trump’s crimes. So they have to protect themselves.

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