Impeachment trial: Senate prepares to hear opening arguments ahead of historic week

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President Donald Trump speaks during an “Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch” at King Jesus International Ministry, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

What’s next in the impeachment trial

Filing of legal briefs

  • The House designated seven impeachment managers on Wednesday, who will prosecute the case against Mr. Trump in the Senate trial. Although the Senate is in recess, the impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s attorneys worked over the long holiday weekend to prepare legal briefs for use in the trial. The House filed its brief on Saturday.

Monday, January 20, 12 p.m.: Trial brief by Mr. Trump’s lawyers is due.

Tuesday, January 21, 12 p.m.: House impeachment managers’ rebuttal brief is due, should they wish to file one.

Senate impeachment rules

Tuesday, January 21, 12:30 p.m.: The Senate reconvenes and is expected to debate an organizing resolution to designate the rules for the trial, including the duration of the arguments. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will likely try to force a vote requiring the Senate to call witnesses, but Republicans have so far expressed unity in delaying decisions on witnesses until later in the trial.

Opening arguments

Tuesday, January 21: After the vote on the impeachment rules, the House managers and president’s legal team will make their opening arguments. The senators are required to sit silently, without their electronic devices. And after the arguments, if they have questions, they may submit them in writing. Roberts will read each question aloud, and the legal team addressed in the question will answer.

Nadler: White House’s impeachment rebuttal was “errant nonsense”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, one of seven impeachment managers who will present the chamber’s case in the Senate trial, called a response to the two articles of impeachment from the president’s legal team “errant nonsense.”

The articles, passed by the House last month, charge Mr. Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and on Saturday, the White House released its formal response to the trial summons issued by the Senate last week.

The White House argued the articles “fail to allege any crime or violation of law” and that the president asserted legitimate “executive branch confidentiality interests” that cannot constitute obstruction of Congress.

“Both of those statements are errant nonsense,” Nadler, a Democrat from New York, said on “Face the Nation” in response to the president’s rebuttal. “There is ample evidence, overwhelming evidence. Any jury would convict in three minutes flat that the president betrayed his country by breaking the law.”

Cornyn says Democrats are “getting cold feet” on impeachment

House Democrats are “getting cold feet” about their impeachment efforts against President Trump ahead of the start of the trial in the Senate, Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas said Sunday.

The Senate proceedings involving Mr. Trump are set to begin Tuesday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expected to offer an organizing resolution laying out the rules for the trial. But a crucial question of whether witnesses will be called to testify remains unanswered.

A decision about additional witnesses will be deferred until after the House’s impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s legal team lay out their respective cases for why the president should be convicted or acquitted, Cornyn said, adding the push for more officials to be called suggests Democrats may not be fully prepared.

“This seems to undermine or indicate they’re getting cold feet or have a lack of confidence in what they’ve done so far,” Cornyn, the majority whip, told “Face the Nation.”

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