McConnell Makes a Change to Senate Trial Rules

McConnell Makes a Change to Senate Trial Rules

The rules would also allow the president's team to seek a quick dismissal of the charges, though McConnell has said there aren't enough votes in the GOP-led chamber for it to pass.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer pledged to seek amendments to Monday's Republican proposal on impeachment trial hearing rules, amendments that would allow for the presentation of witness testimony and evidence pertaining to Donald Trump's communications with the president of Ukraine.

If that succeeds, Schumer wants to call four witnesses, including White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

"Senator McConnell's proposed rules depart dramatically from the Clinton precedent-in ways that are created to prevent the Senate and the American people from learning the full truth about President Trump's actions that warranted his impeachment", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement published online.

Democrats were left furious by proposals for them to be given just 24 hours to outline their case for removing the U.S. president and for a decision on new witnesses to be delayed until later in the trial.

The first is abuse of power over efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine to launch investigations into Trump's political rival while withholding almost 400 billion US dollars in military aid. No president has ever been removed from office via the impeachment process.

During the impeachment inquiry, Trump refused to participate and urged current and former administration staffers to do the same.

The second charge is obstruction of Congress for withholding testimony and documents from investigators.

"Put simply, Democrats have no response to the president's record of achievement in restoring prosperity to the American economy, rebuilding America's military, and confronting America's adversaries overseas", it added.

Trump will be at the annual gathering of world business leaders in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday to project an air of business as usual and tout the strength of the US economy.

Trump, 73, has gone through a succession of controversies since taking office in January 2017.

A pivotal event in the impeachment case is Trump's July 25 call to Zelensky asking Ukraine's president to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, as well as a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russian Federation, meddled in the 2016 election.

Hunter Biden had joined the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father was vice president. Trump has accused the Bidens of corruption without offering evidence.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has selected seven House Democrats as impeachment managers who will argue the case to impeach Trump to the jury (i.e. the senators). Trump's legal team says there is no evidence he conditioned the aid on getting that help.

What's new: Ahead of the start of the trial at 1 pm ET, House impeachment managers sent a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Trump's lead defense lawyer, accusing him of being a "material witness" to the allegations.

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