The latest on President Trump's impeachment

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5:35 p.m. ET, January 15, 2020

Nancy Pelosi signs the articles of impeachment

Susan Walsh/AP
Susan Walsh/AP

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has signed the articles of impeachment against President Trump.

She's using a number of different pens. Aides say they will be given to others to signify today’s historic events. House managers may get some of them, but there are a few dozens. 

What's next: The seven House Democratic managers are now expected to walk across the Capitol, with the House clerk, Cheryl Johnson, with the articles. They will be escorted by House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving. 

At that point, we do not expect the formal transmission of the articles from the House to the Senate to occur until Thursday. 

“Under Impeachment rules, once the House formally notifies the Senate it has appointed managers, the Senate is required to set a time for the House managers to exhibit the articles. This two-step process is specified in the rules of impeachment. When the Senate receives the initial message tonight, the body will formally invite the managers to exhibit the articles during tomorrow’s session of the Senate. Only at that time, when the House managers return at the invitation of the Senate, is it possible for the Senate to formally receive the exhibition of the Articles of Impeachment,” David Popp, Communications Director for Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a statement today.

Watch the moment:

5:32 p.m. ET, January 15, 2020

Pelosi: "So sad, so tragic" that Trump's behavior has "has taken us to this place"

Pool
Pool

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called President Trump's behavior — which led to the impeachment process — "so sad, so tragic for our country."

"So sad and so tragic for our country that the actions taken by the President to undermine our national security, to violate his oath of office and to jeopardize the security of our elections, the integrity of the elections, has taken us to this place," Pelosi said. "So today, we will make history when the managers walk down the hall, we will cross a threshold in history, delivering articles of impeachment against the president of the United States for abuse of power and obstruction of the House."

Watch the moment:

5:20 p.m. ET, January 15, 2020

NOW: Nancy Pelosi is speaking

Pool
Pool

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is now speaking at this evening's engrossment ceremony, the formal signing and delivery of the documents. 

The House impeachment managers, which she named earlier today, are with her.

5:19 p.m. ET, January 15, 2020

Why there are so many pens at the signing ceremony

There's a lot pens set up for this evening's engrossment ceremony. This is the formal signing and delivery of the documents. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s staff said these multitudes of pens will be used by the Speaker as she signs the resolution.

Expect her to pick many of them up as she signs the resolution, which appoints House managers and officially transmitting the articles of impeachment.  

Why so many? Aides say they will be given to others to signify today’s historic events. House managers may get some of them, but there are a few dozens.  

5:05 p.m. ET, January 15, 2020

Senate Republicans say House managers will have to come back to formally present impeachment articles

Julio Cortez/AP
Julio Cortez/AP

Sen. Mitch McConnell's office said that after the House formally notifies the Senate it has named impeachment managers, the Senate has to set up a time for those managers to formally present them.

This is how Senate Republicans have expected tonight's handoff to go. While the impeachment mangers are expected to soon walk the articles to the Senate, Senate Republicans said they will not officially accept the articles.

Instead, they said they will inform the House managers they should return tomorrow to formally present the articles and read them aloud on the floor.

House Democrats have insisted that they expect the Senate Republicans to accept the articles of impeachment and still plan to attempt to deliver them.

Here's how David Popp, a spokesperson for McConnell, put it: 

“Under Impeachment rules, once the House formally notifies the Senate it has appointed managers, the Senate is required to set a time for the House managers to exhibit the articles. This two-step process is specified in the rules of impeachment. When the Senate receives the initial message tonight, the body will formally invite the managers to exhibit the articles during tomorrow’s session of the Senate. Only at that time, when the House managers return at the invitation of the Senate, is it possible for the Senate to formally receive the exhibition of the Articles of Impeachment.”
4:26 p.m. ET, January 15, 2020

GOP senators won't commit to considering new evidence that may emerge during the trial

Sen. Lamar Alexander is seen in September 2019 in Washington.
Sen. Lamar Alexander is seen in September 2019 in Washington. Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

Several Senate Republicans are non-committal on whether they will allow new evidence to be presented in the Senate trial.

"The question is would be why then did they bring the articles of impeachment if they didn't hear from the witnesses they wanted to hear and hadn't considered the evidence they want to consider," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee.

Asked if that meant he's opposed to hearing new evidence, Alexander said: "I didn't say that."

Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of Senate Republican leadership, said: "That sounds like a decision the chief justice and the Senate may have to make... I guess i would just deal with that as it comes up."

This comes amid talk by both House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nader that Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas' reams of material could present even more evidence pertinent to the trial.

It is expected that Parnas' records released yesterday will be admissible at the trial. But if more evidence emerges during the trial, it's an open open question about whether that would be allowed to be presented. 

How this could play out: If there's an objection by a senator or President Trump's defense team to new evidence, Chief Justice John Roberts could rule on it or punt on the issue and let the senators decide. Senators could also overrule the chief justice. Fifty-one senators would be needed to approve allowing new evidence to be presented.

4:23 p.m. ET, January 15, 2020

House Democrats and Senate Republicans have different ideas of what happens next

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

There remains some disconnect and confusion between House Democrats and Senate Republicans about what exactly will happen during the 5 p.m. hour when House managers march to the Senate with the intent of delivering the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

What we know:

  • Senate Republicans say they will not officially accept the articles tonight and will instead inform the House managers they should return tomorrow to formally present the articles and read them aloud on the floor.
  • But House Democrats insist that they expect the Senate Republicans to accept the articles of impeachment and still plan to attempt to deliver them.

Here's the bottom line: Right now, we don’t know exactly what will happen but we should be able to see the managers march across the Capitol to the main entrance of the Senate chamber.

The House clerk could go on the floor and read aloud a message to the Senate that the House has articles of impeachment to present to the Senate. 

It’s also possible the House managers would attempt to enter the Senate chamber (they have floor privileges) and deliver the articles to the Secretary of the Senate or whatever official is there. We just don’t know yet.

4:22 p.m. ET, January 15, 2020

What to expect when the House managers walk the articles of impeachment to the Senate

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is expected to hold an engrossment ceremony at 5 p.m. ET. This is the formal signing and delivery of the documents. 

After that, the impeachment managers — seven Democrats who are serving as the prosecutors in the Senate trial — will walk across the Capitol with the articles in a blue folder. The House Clerk and House Sergeant at Arms will be with them as they walk to the Senate.

Here's what we're expecting when they get to the Senate:

  • Senate leadership aides say the Senate will not accept the articles tonight.
  • Instead, the House Clerk will read a message to the Senate, saying the articles are ready to be delivered.
  • The Senate will then send a message back to the House saying it is ready to exhibit the articles and receive the managers — and specify a time, which is expected to be tomorrow.
  • This will set up the managers to return as soon as tomorrow morning, when they will formally deliver the articles and read the articles aloud on the floor.
3:19 p.m. ET, January 15, 2020

Senate trial rules: No phones or talking to your neighbor

The Senate has drafted a document on decorum guidelines for the impeachment trial, including rules senators — who will be serving as jurors — must follow.

John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, will preside over the trial, and senators have been told hey must be in attendance for all proceedings.

Here are a few of the rules mentioned in the guidelines:

  • They must be quiet: "Members should refrain from speaking to neighboring senators while the case is being presented."
  • They can't have their phones: "No use of phones or electronic devices will be allowed in the Chamber."
  • They have to call Roberts by this title: During the course of the proceedings the Chief Justice should be referred to as "Mr. Chief Justice."
  • When they vote, they must stand: "Should votes be required during the proceedings, Senators will stand and vote from their seats."