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Mitch McConnell’s impeachment rules pass by 53-47 vote — here’s what happens next in Trump’s senate trial

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The US Senate voted along party lines on Tuesday to set the rules for President Donald Trump’s historic impeachment trial.

By a 53 to 47 vote, the Republican-controlled Senate approved an “organizing resolution” for the trial proposed by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Before approving the rules, the Senate voted down several amendments proposed by Democrats seeking to subpoena witnesses and documents from the White House and State Department.

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These are the next phases in Trump’s impeachment trial, just the third of a president in US history:

– Opening arguments –

The Democratic members of the House of Representatives chosen to present the impeachment case against Trump will deliver opening arguments to the Senate beginning on Wednesday.

They will have a total of 24 hours over three days to present their case that Trump should be impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his attempt to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

McConnell had initially planned to compress the 24 hours of argument into two days, which could have led the sessions to go well past midnight.

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But McConnell extended the time to three days under pressure from some fellow Republicans.

Following the House presentation, Trump’s defense team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, will have 24 hours over three days to present their rebuttal.

– Written questions –

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Following opening arguments, senators will have a total of 16 hours to ask questions in writing to House prosecutors or the White House defense team.

The written questions from the senators will be read out loud in the chamber by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial.

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– Witnesses and documents –

Following the question period, House prosecutors and the White House defense team will have two hours each to argue for or against subpoenaing witnesses or documents.

The Senate will then vote on whether any witnesses or documents should be subpoenaed. A simple majority vote of 51 senators will decide the issue.

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House Democrats have said they want former National Security Advisor John Bolton and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and two others to testify.

If there is an agreement to hear witnesses, they will first be deposed behind closed doors. The Senate will then decide whether they will be allowed to testify publicly.

– Senate vote –

Following the conclusion of deliberations, the Senate will vote on each of the two articles of impeachment.

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A two-thirds majority of the senators present is required for conviction. Conviction on just a single article is enough to remove Trump from office.

With Republicans holding a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate, Trump — barring the unexpected — is likely to be acquitted.

The Senate vote could possibly be held late next week — ahead of Trump’s planned February 4 appearance before a joint session of Congress for the annual State of the Union speech.

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Trump spent 45 minutes talking with cast of right-wing play dramatizing ‘Deep State’ conspiracy theories: report

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The coronavirus emergency has given President Donald Trump one of the most daunting tests of his administration, with less than a year to go before he stands for re-election.

And yet in the midst of all the chaos, one thing the president found time to do on Thursday was meet with the cast of a bizarre right-wing play dramatizing the supposed "deep state" plot at the FBI to frame Trump in the Russia investigation.

According to The Daily Beast, Trump spent 45 minutes talking with the people behind "FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers," which focuses on the affair between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The leading roles of Strzok and Page were played by Dean Cain, the former Superman actor, and Kristy Swanson, who played the starring role in the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.

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All US Navy ships in the Pacific near countries with coronavirus ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days

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CNN National Security reporter Ryan Browne tweeted Thursday that the U.S. Navy has ordered all of its vessels in the Pacific that have been near countries with COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, "to remain at sea for at least 14 days before pulling into another port in order to monitor sailors for any symptoms of the virus."

Health experts have said that the two-week period should give enough time for infected people to become aware that they are sick.

The highly-contagious disease has spread very quickly in South Korea and California after public exposure. The first person verified with "community-spread" transmission was identified just outside of Sacramento, California.

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‘Most wicked to ever represent Cleveland’: Jim Jordan ripped by hometown paper for covering up sex scandal

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President Trump likes to call his enemies 'sleaze bags" and Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan a "warrior," but according to Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin, Trump has it backward.

While Jordan may not seem like the worse politician to ever come out of Ohio, the "crimes" he's committed "don't involve felonies," according to Larkin. "They are crimes against America, crimes involving total disregard for the principles of democracy, trampling the truth on behalf of a corrupt president who revels in his inhumanity."

Watching Jordan question witnesses during the House impeachment inquiry particularly incensed Larkin, who writes that it was like watching a man who "spent his childhood gleefully ripping wings off flies."

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