Impeachment trial of President Trump

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 1:36 AM ET, Fri January 24, 2020
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10:20 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Trump's allies are lobbying on-the-fence senators to oppose witnesses

From CNN's Dana Bash

As House managers argue intensely about the need to hear from key witnesses at the Senate trial, a source familiar with the process tells CNN that the President’s allies are already working hard behind the scenes to lobby wavering GOP senators to oppose any witnesses.

This effort includes calls from members of the President’s team and allies on Capitol Hill. They're also identifying people that the senators trust and respect from a wide variety of places, including back home, and getting them to call.

The specific arguments against witnesses vary depending on who the senator is and what their concerns are, CNN is told.

Remember: 51 senators would need to vote to have witnesses at trial. If all 47 senators who caucus with the Democrats vote to have witnesses, they still need four Republicans to join them.

10:00 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

These 3 Republicans have signaled they'd vote to considered witnesses. They still need a 4th.

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

GOP Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney have signaled they will likely vote to consider witnesses and evidence.

If all 47 senators who caucus with the Democrats vote to have witnesses and evidence, they still need four Republicans to join them.

The three had nothing to say, substantively, about the first day of the House manager presentation. That’s unlikely to change any time soon, as all three plan to keep their observations quiet until after the presentations are complete. 

The question remains: Who, if anyone, is the fourth? 

9:51 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

The impeachment trial is televised, but here's why you haven't seen what the senators are doing

The only TV coverage of the impeachment trial so far has been from cameras controlled by the Senate itself.

That means the public hasn't actually seen many of the senators, the gallery overlooking the Senate or other parts of the chamber during the trial. But Sketch artist Bill Hennessy has been in the Senate chamber.

He's capturing the moments the TV cameras haven't shown, like when a protester briefly interrupted the trial last night:

Or the senators who have gotten up from their seats to stand in the rear of the chamber:

Here's Sen. Marco Rubio during the trial on Tuesday:

9:20 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

3 key moments to watch on the 3rd day of the impeachment trial

Today marks the third full day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. House impeachment managers, the Democrats who are prosecuting the case against Trump, will continue to lay out their case.

Here's what to watch today:

  • 11:30 a.m. ET: Both parties will hold closed-door Senate lunches.
  • 1 p.m. ET: The Senate trial resume for the second day of the House manager’s presentation.
  • 2:45 p.m. ET: President Trump will depart the White House on his way to Florida for the Republican National Committee Winter Meeting. The President often stops and talks to reporters when he's leaving the White House, although we're not sure if that will happen today.

9:09 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

How the Senate could acquit Trump by the end of the month

From CNN's Ted Barrett, Phil Mattingly and Manu Raju

Two sources in communication with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say he wants this trial done in about 10 days.

It's possible the trial could warp up that quickly — but there's a big caveat here: Both sides, which get 24 hours over the course of three days each, can yield time back, so that could change the time frame.

And if there's a majority vote to subpoena witnesses or documents, that could change things as well.

The Democrats had their first of three days of opening arguments yesterday. If all 24 hours allotted to each side for opening arguments are used, here's how the schedule could play out:

  • Today: Democratic arguments
  • Friday: Democratic arguments
  • Saturday: Trump team arguments
  • Monday: Trump team arguments
  • Jan. 28: Trump team arguments
  • Jan. 29: Senator questions
  • Jan 30: Senator questions
  • Jan 31: Four hours of debate on whether to subpoena witnesses and subpoenas, a vote on witnesses and documents and a vote on other motions; If all votes fail, the Senate could move to the acquittal vote

8:57 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

House managers' presentation was designed to convince these two groups of people

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

Today will be the House impeachment managers' second of three days to present their case on the Senate floor.

To those who have watched every twist and turn and development and “bombshell” and “dude” and whatever other description that may exist of the last four months of the impeachment investigation: this isn’t about you. It’s just not.

These three days are designed to make a case, and create the environment to win votes in the days ahead. Today, that will mean a deep dive into the first article of impeachment: Abuse of Power. 

Here's the bottom line: The House managers' presentation is about the small group of senators who may vote to hear from witnesses or subpoena documents. It’s about a public that may have tuned out.

That’s what these three days, according to people involved with the House presentation strategy, are all about. And success will be measured by whether the presentation lands with those two groups, and probably nobody else. 

8:52 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Catch up: Here's what you missed yesterday during the impeachment trial

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

The impeachment trial of President Trump enters its third day today, and opening remarks from the House impeachment managers will continue later today.

Here are where things stand now:

  • Supplemental testimony from Pence aide to be added to the articles: At the end of last night's proceedings, Chief Justice John Roberts said a “a single one paged classified document identified by the House managers for filing with the Secretary of the Senate” will be made available for senators to review in a classified setting. The document pertains to supplemental testimony from Jennifer Williams, a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence who testified before the House impeachment inquiry in November.
  • GOP senators resist calls for witnesses and documents: There were more signs yesterday that GOP senators were not budging on allowing subpoenas for witnesses and documents. After listening to House managers, Sen. David Perdue, a close ally of Trump, made clear he won't get behind witnesses sought by the House. He said there's a "bright line" between former President Bill Clinton's impeachment case and the Trump case since the three witnesses who were deposed in the 1999 Senate trial had previously spoken to investigators.
  • Schiff reminds senators of their duty to act impartially: House impeachment manager Adam Schiff said in his opening statement he believes "an impartial juror" will vote to remove President Trump from office after hearing the case against him. Schiff reminded the Senate of their duty to act impartially. “The Constitution entrusts you to the responsibility of acting as impartial jurors," he said.
  • Will Hunter Biden testify? Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking to reporters, called on Hunter Biden to testify in the impeachment trial.
  • Giuliani dubbed a "cold-blooded political operative" for Trump: House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries took shots at President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, calling him a "cold-blooded political operative."
  • About milk: Sen. Tom Cotton was spotted yesterday drinking two glasses of milk. Surprisingly, milk and water are the only beverages allowed on the Senate floor during the impeachment trial. So why milk, and not coffee? It was designed to help senators with ulcers. According to Alan Frumin, the former Senate Parliamentarian and CNN contributor, a precedent from Jan. 24, 1966, stated, “Senate rules do not prohibit a Senator from sipping milk during his speech.”