Senate Passes McConnell’s Impeachment Trial Rules, Delaying Vote on Witnesses

After more than 12 hours of debate that bled into early Wednesday morning, the Senate passed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed rules for the impeachment trial against President Trump.

Senators voted 53-to-47 along party lines just before 2a.m. to pass McConnell’s rules resolution, which delays a vote on whether witnesses will be called until after opening arguments are heard.

Under McConnell’s rules, the House impeachment managers are allotted 24 hours over three days to argue the Democrats’ case that the president is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of justice and should be removed from office. The White House legal team will be afforded the same amount of time to defend the president.

After that, senators have 16 hours to submit questions to both sides before settling the question of whether to call witnesses or subpoena documents.

The vote came after Republicans voted to reject several amendments from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to subpoena more evidence and call witnesses to testify.

The debate grew heated around midnight, when Democratic impeachment manager Jerry Nadler suggested that if Republicans rejected one of Schumer’s amendments to subpoena former National Security Adviser John Bolton, they would be guilty of a “treacherous vote” and a “cover-up.”

“This is the United States Senate. You’re not in charge here,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone shot back. “It’s about time we bring this power trip in for a landing.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts then reprimanded both sides, saying “those addressing the Senate should remember where they are,” namely before the “world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Trump’s legal team argued that the president acted within the bounds of executive privilege and did not abuse his power.

The House impeachment managers are scheduled to begin opening arguments at 2p.m. on Wednesday.

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