As the impeachment trial of President Trump draws near, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has laid out his proposal for how it will proceed.
Both sides will only get 24 hours total to present their opening arguments over the course of two days. That means we may see back-to-back 12-hour days as the Democrats rush to present all their evidence against the embattled president.
The proceedings are set to begin on Wednesday at 1 p.m., and it’s likely that arguments and testimony will run long into the night.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is (predictably) unhappy about McConnell’s rules. He claims that it is a dramatic departure from the precedent set during the last impeachment trial. In 1999, it was Democrats trying to run defense as President Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury.
According to Schumer, McConnell has changed the game “in ways that are designed to prevent the Senate and the American people from learning the full truth about President Trump’s actions that warranted his impeachment.”
During the Clinton Impeachment trial, both sides were given four days total to present their opening arguments. In addition, all evidence presented during those arguments was admitted without a vote. That won’t be the case for the Trump Trial.
Although the Democrats have been gathering evidence for months, including expert testimony from witnesses, they’ll have a narrow window to present their findings. In addition, the Senate will vote whether each piece of evidence can be admitted.
It’s also not known yet whether the Democrats will be allowed to call additional witnesses, such as former Defense Secretary John Bolton.
Both Schumer and Adam Schiff claim that the rules drawn up by McConnell are designed to help acquit Trump. Earlier today, Schumer said, “It appears that Leader McConnell decided to go along with the President’s desire to cover-up his wrongdoing, hook, line and sinker.”
Schiff echoed that idea, telling reporters that if the Senate does not vote to allow witnesses, they would be guilty of “working with the President to obstruct the truth from coming out.”