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Trump’s impeachment trial sees partisan clashes over rules, witnesses, admissible documents

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in the final senator, James Inhofe, as the Chief Justice presides over the start of the US Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2020.
US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in the final senator, James Inhofe, as the Chief Justice presides over the start of the US Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2020. © REUTERS

The historic impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump opened in the Senate on Tuesday where the Republican president faces charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Trump, who is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, claims he is innocent of the charges.

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  • The US Senate voted 53-47, exactly along party lines, to table several amendments proposed by Democratic US Senator Chuck Schumer:
    1. Subpoena White House documents
    2. Subpoena State Department documents
    3. Subpoena Budget Office documents detailing Trump's aid to Ukraine
    4. Subpoena testimony of Mick Mulvaney, Trump's acting chief of staff, central to the Ukraine scandal
    5. Subpoena Pentagon documents
    6. Subpoena testimony of Trump staffer Robert Blair and a senior official from the Office of Management and Budget, Michael Duffey
    7. Require the sharing of evidence by both parties
    8. Subpoena testimony of John Bolton, the White House’s former national security adviser
    9. Require a vote on any motion to subpoena witnesses and documents
    10. Give Chief Justice Roberts the authority to decide whether to allow motions on subpoenas for witnesses and documents
  • Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell had initially planned to compress the 24 hours of argument into two days, which could have led the sessions to go well past midnight. But McConnell extended the time period to three days under pressure from some fellow Republicans.
  • After nearly 13 hours of debate and discussion, the Senate adjourned after approving Republican rules for Trump’s impeachment trial.
  • The articles of impeachment state that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 US election to help him win, and then tried to thwart a congressional probe of his behaviour.
  • Trump will not be present at the trial – he is currently in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Trump told reporters there: “That whole thing is a hoax. It goes nowhere because nothing happened. The only thing we’ve done is a great job.”
  • This is only the third time an American president has endured an impeachment trial, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999.
  • The trial comes just weeks before the first primaries of the 2020 US presidential election.

You can follow all the action that took place, plus our reactions, in the liveblog posted below.

 

 

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