Impeachment trial of President Trump
Sen. Susan Collins reiterated to CNN today that she anticipates she will vote for witnesses and documents.
“My response is the same as it was Tuesday, I’ve worked very hard to make sure we vote on witnesses and documents at the appropriate stage of the trial. The same as we did during President Clinton’s impeachment trial, the cases have been made by both sides, the questions have been asked. I tend to like information and would anticipate I would vote for more…,” Collins said.
Democratic House managers will be laying out their case against President Trump over the next two days before senators.
They've laid out a plan to detail the two articles of impeachment against Trump, according to a Democratic official working on the trial said in a written statement.
Here's how it will go down:
- Today: The House managers will make their case on article one — abuse of power — "and apply the facts and evidence of the President’s scheme to the law and Constitution," the official said.
- Tomorrow: They will go through article two — obstruction of Congress.
Senators and aides in each party say there is an effort in the works to hold a short, morning-only impeachment trial session on Saturday to hear the beginning of the opening arguments from President Trump’s defense counsel and then allowing senators to leave town for the weekend.
The plan is not finalized but seems to be gaining steam as word of it circulates through the Republican and Democratic caucuses.
“I’m hoping for an early start on Saturday,” said Sen. Roy Blunt a Republican from Missouri who chairs the Rules Committee and has been closely involved with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in arranging the logistics and other support of the trial.
The plan would need unanimous consent from all senators. But after a long few days stuck in the Senate chamber, the idea struck many as perfect.
For Democratic candidates running for president, it would allow them to dash to Iowa or New Hampshire for some much-needed campaigning after being hold up in DC for several days.
For everyone else, it might be a time to catch up on some sleep after several late nights.
An early start is possible, in part, because Chief Justice John Roberts would not need to do his day job presiding over the Supreme Court on a Saturday, something he’s done all week before presiding over the impeachment trial in the afternoon and into the night.
One senator told CNN that Roberts is amenable to the plan.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laid out today's trial schedule, which is similar to yesterday's.
The Senate will take short breaks every two or three hours, and at some point, take a 30-minute recess for dinner, he said.
About today's hearing: Democratic House managers are resuming their opening statements. They have 24 hours over the course of three days to deliver their arguments.
Senate Chaplain Barry Black opened today's hearing with a prayer and a bit of advice to senators: "Listening is often more than hearing."
"May they stride to have a clear conscience in whatever they do for you and country. Lord, help them remember that listening is often more than hearing. It can be an empathetic attentiveness that builds bridges and unites," he said.
Black continued: "May our senators not permit fatigue or cynicism to jeopardize friendships that have existed for years. At every decision point throughout this trial, may they ask, which choice will bring god the greater glory?"
The Senate just gaveled in for the third day of the impeachment trial of President Trump.
Democratic House impeachment managers will continue to give their opening arguments. They get 24 hours over the course of three days to make their case, and this will be their second day.
After the House Democrats have finished making their opening arguments, Trump's defense team will get 24 hours over three days to make their case.
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, a retiring institutionalist and Mitch McConnell ally who is thought to be a swing vote, said he hasn’t made a decision yet on voting for subpoenas for witnesses or documents.
"We are doing a really good job of allowing the House managers to make the case ... they say themselves they presented overwhelming evidence, they’ve done a good job of that. And then we can decide if we need additional documents or evidence," he said.
Asked if additional documents could help his decision making process, the Tennessee Republican said, “There’s no way to tell that. I think we are doing in exactly the right order... first we are hearing the case .. and then if we need more evidence, we have a right to vote for it. I’ll make a decision when we get to that point.”
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham explained why he praised Adam Schiff last night, saying he thought the House impeachment managers delivered a good presentation.
What this is about: Graham congratulated Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, on a job well done after day two of the Senate impeachment trial, according to one Democratic senator who saw the exchange.
But today, Graham also argued it was only half the story, and again raised questions about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden and Burisma, saying no one has looked at whether there was a conflict of interest. He said though that he didn't want them to be called as witnesses.
"There are a bunch of people on my side" who want to hear from the Bidens, he said, but said he won't vote for it because he wants the circus of the trial to end "sooner rather than later."
There's no evidence of wrongdoing by either of the Bidens.
When asked if she had concerns about an executive privilege fight tying up the impeachment trial in the courts, Sen. Lisa Murkowski questioned why the House didn't go to court itself.
"The House made a decision that they didn't want to slow things down by having to go through the courts. And yet now they're basically saying you guys gotta go through the courts. We didn't, but we need you to," Murkowski said.
House Democrats, who launched the impeachment investigation, have said they moved forward with the articles of impeachment without waiting on court orders for additional witnesses because the process could take too long with the looming 2020 presidential election.
Murkowski added that it was still only after day one and wouldn't get into any more details on her thinking.