Rules submitted to the Senate regarding how the impeachment trial was to proceed seem designed to produce a quick trial with no guarantee that new evidence or witnesses would be considered.
These rules, drafted by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, were released as a new poll finds that 69% of Americans say that testimony from new witnesses should be allowed.
what will the trial look like
Representatives of the House will present their case against President Trump. They will have 24 hours over three days to make their case.
President Trump’s defense will present their case. They will also have 24 hours over three days to do so.
When both sides are done, senators will be able to ask questions, in writing, for up to 16 hours.
Then, the Senate can vote on whether to consider new witnesses or documents.
If the vote supports hearing from witnesses or obtaining documents, the witnesses are deposed (they give sworn statements, usually behind closed doors). Then, a vote determines if the deposition should be considered.
Tweet from President Trump regarding witnesses
They didn’t want John Bolton and others in the House. They were in too much of a rush. Now they want them all in the Senate. Not supposed to be that way!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2020
NOTE: The House asked John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, to testify. Bolton said he would testify only if he was subpoenaed and a judge ordered him to appear. The House decided to forgo the process of ordering a subpoena because they believed it would be held up in court and delay the impeachment process for months.
However, Bolton recently indicated that he would agree to testify (and not wait for a court mandate) in the Senate.
Additional witnesses were blocked by the White House, including chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House Counsel Don McGahn.
the Clinton rules for the impeachment trial
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this month:
“What was good enough for President Clinton in an impeachment trial should have been good enough for President Trump.” With this, he pushed to follow rules from 20 years ago. Democrats wanted a guarantee that new information could be brought forward, including testimony from John Bolton who had recently agreed to answer a subpoena.
Despite his announcement to follow the Clinton impeachment rules, the original draft of Mitch McConnell’s rules differed in several ways. A simple explanation of the differences is here.
Geek out on the impeachment trial rules that Mitch McConnell drafted.