Senate approves rules for Trump impeachment trial

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 22, 2020 - Duration: 02:14s

Senate approves rules for Trump impeachment trial

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate voted early on Wednesday on party lines to approve the rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, rejecting Democratic efforts to obtain evidence and ensure witnesses are heard.

Libby Hogan reports.

Senate approves rules for Trump impeachment trial

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, SAYING: "The ayes are 53, the nays are 47, the resolution is agreed to." The U.S. Senate approved rules for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial Wednesday (January 22) only after a marathon debate over documents and witnesses.

Democrats and Trump lawyers clashed until two in the morning.

At times, it got feisty.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER, JAY SEKULOW, SAYING: "'Only guilty people try to hide evidence?'

So I guess when President Obama instructed his attorney general to not give information, he was guilty of a crime." (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. HOUSE IMPEACHMENT MANAGER, ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "Well, when you find video of Barack Obama saying that under Article 2 he can do anything, then you can compare Barack Obama to Donald Trump." The vote to adopt Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan for the trial fell along party lines, 53-47.

"Will senators rise to the occasion?" That was after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed 11 amendments to the plan.

Republicans killed all of them.

While McConnell relaxed the proposed pace of the trial's timeline giving both sides an additional day for opening arguments.

Democrats were pushing for more evidence, an effort to boost charges against President Trump.

The failed amendments called on the Senate to subpoena documents from around the government - and witnesses including John Bolton and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Instead, Wednesday's resolution delays the debate over witnesses until both sides have made their presentations.

Trump was impeached last month on charges of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.

He denies any wrongdoing, and his lawyers made their case to Senators in person for the first time: (SOUND BITE) (English) TRUMP LAWYER JAY SEKULOW, SAYING: "Are we here because of a phone call?

Or are we here before this great body because, since the president was sworn into office, there was a desire to see him removed." Opening statements for the trial begin later on Wednesday.

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