Trial Rules Give Each Side 24 Hours for Case: Impeachment Update
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the podium during a ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. (Photographer: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg)  

Trial Rules Give Each Side 24 Hours for Case: Impeachment Update

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins in the Senate Tuesday after final preparations, including the filing of a trial brief by his defense team by noon Monday.

Here are the latest developments:

Trial Rules Give Each Side 24 Hours for Case (6:43 p.m.)

The rules for the impeachment trial allow just two calendar days and 24 floor hours each for the House and defense each to make their case and affords the president’s team the right to seek dismissal of the case, according a copy of the trial resolution obtained by Bloomberg News.

The resolution authored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accelerates the timetable used during the 1999 impeachment trial of then-President Bill Clinton, which the Kentucky Republican said he was using for a template. Opening arguments then took three days for each side. McConnell has been worked toward a quick proceeding that is all but certain to end in Trump’s acquittal on charges he abused his power and obstructed Congress.

After arguments, senators then would get 16 hours to present questions. Only then would the Senate consider the question of calling for witnesses or documents to be presented, a central demand from Democrats, who would need at least four GOP senators to agree to force the issue.

In another key departure from the Clinton trial, the White House can offer a motion to dismiss after the initial resolution with basic trial rules is adopted. In 1999 such a motion was allowed only after the impeachment managers and defense presented their cases and after senators had 16 hours to ask questions of both sides. And it was offered by a senator, not the White House.

The Senate will begin considering the resolution setting the rules on Tuesday.

Poll Shows Majority Believes Senate Should Remove Trump (5:10 pm)

A majority of Americans believe the Senate should remove President Donald Trump from office on the eve of his trial, according to a poll released Monday by CNN.

Just over half of respondents -- 51% -- say the upper chamber should oust him, while 45% say lawmakers should acquit Trump, the poll found. There was even broader support -- 69% -- for testimony from new witnesses, including 44% of Republicans.

Senators on Tuesday will begin the trial, in which Trump is charged with abusing his power and obstructing a congressional probe of his efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating political rival and former vice president Joe Biden. Support for additional witnesses may be higher among Republicans because some in the GOP have argued it could be a way to force testimony from Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father oversaw U.S. foreign policy for the country.

Some 58% of respondents believe that Trump abused his power, while 57% say he obstructed the House of Representatives’ investigation, according to the poll. Overall, 53% of Americans disapprove of the job the president is doing while 43% approve. The poll of 1,156 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Trump’s Team Says House Failed to Show Crime (12:15 p.m.)

President Donald Trump’s lawyers argue in a brief filed Monday that the House of Representatives failed to show a criminal violation and that his conviction in the Senate impeachment trial would fundamentally change the separation of powers.

The lengthy document, which previews the president’s defense, contends that the House failed to prove that Trump explicitly linked aid for Ukraine to an investigation he was seeking into political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden. The president’s legal team will also argue that the Senate should swiftly reject the impeachment articles, according to two people working with the president’s legal team who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity.

Catch Up on Impeachment Coverage

Trump’s Defense a Work in Progress; Pelosi Sets Wednesday Vote

Trump Impeachment Defense Remains Work in Progress Near Trial

Key Events

  • Trump chose celebrity lawyers Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, both seasoned by some of the most high-profile legal cases of the past half century, to join his legal team.
  • Here is House Democrats’ web page containing documents related to the impeachment trial.The House impeachment resolution is H.Res. 755. The Intelligence Committee Democrats’ impeachment report is here.
  • Gordon Sondland’s transcript is here and here; Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of David Holmes, a Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, is here.
  • The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Fiona Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here. Jennifer Williams’ transcript is here and Timothy Morrison’s is here. The Philip Reeker transcript is here. Mark Sandy’s is here.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Also read: These House Prosecutors Will Present Trump Impeachment to Senate

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