McConnell’s Impeachment Rules Ensure Quick Acquittal

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Ukraine, Trump & Administration, Trump ImpeachmentLeave a Comment

So here’s the bottom line:

  1. The evidence, records, and documents sent over by the House will not automatically be made part of the Senate’s trial proceedings. It may, at such time as Senator McConnell brings up a subsequent motion to allow it and that motion passes with 51 votes. And this will be done on an individual basis for each piece of evidence, not en masse for the whole of it, which is a break from how the Senate handled President Clinton’s impeachment.
  2. The Democratic impeachment managers from the House will have 24 hours to make their case, divided into two days. Each day will start at 1 PM EST and will conclude no later than 1 AM EST the next morning. Then the President’s defense team will have the same arrangement.
  3. According to Senator Halwey (warning: auto play video at that link!), Senator McConnell has built a kill switch into the rules package allowing him to move to summary dismissal whenever he feels he has the 51 votes to do so.
  4. There will be no vote on witness or additional evidence until after the Democratic House managers and the President’s defense finish presenting their cases.
  5. Senator McConnell controls the audio and video in the Senate chamber. He has already pissed off C-Span by informing them that he will control their cameras and feed during the trial, not C-Span, as part of his news media control rules that he has implemented for the Senate trial. Americans will see as much or as little as Senator McConnell wants them to see and only what he wants them to see.


UPDATE: The President is in Davos, Switzerland. But…

UPDATE at 2:30pm: After Schiff speaks at length about the need for considering the evidence, Jay Skeulow gets up…..

Now Pat Cippilone speaks. Lots of attacks on Schiff and no “due process”. Also the same bullshit about “overturning an election”

Schumer proposes subpoenas:

Philbin: “It’s not the role of the Senate” to be hearing from new witnesses and subpoenaing new documents. That very much is their role. In fact, it’s happened in every single previous impeachment trial.

Schiff is back up. He says:

Philbin says we’re not ready to present our case.

We’re ready. The House calls John Bolton. The House calls Mick Mulvaney.


And now, getting back to Schumer’s Amendment….

The Senate voted Tuesday to block a Democratic bid to subpoena White House emails, memos and other documents related to President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine that is at the heart of the impeachment case against him. The vote was 53 to 47 to table the amendment to the trial rules, with Republicans prevailing.

Mr. Trump’s administration refused to provide the documents — including correspondence among the president and his top national security aides — during the House impeachment inquiry. Democrats argued that the documents are necessary for a fair trial that would hold the president accountable.

Republicans have repeatedly said it was the House’s responsibility to gather all the evidence before sending articles of impeachment to the Senate. But the White House stonewalled every request made by the House investigators.

UPDATE: The Senate went late into the night. Eventually, they approved rules and rejected eleven amendments offered by Schumer — all by a vote of 53 to 47 (save one).

These amendments included subpoenas for records of the Department of Defense, State Department, National Security Council and the OMB, as well as for testimony of Mulvaney, Bolton, Robert Blair, an assistant to the president and adviser to White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Michael Duffey, a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget.

Also rejected — a measure that would require that any new documents admitted in the Senate trial that had previously been subpoenaed by the House be made available to members of both parties, which Democrats said would prevent the “selective” admission of evidence from the president.

Also rejected — two measures that would have provided for a vote on any motion to subpoena documents and witnesses and given additional time for parties to file responses to motions.

The rules as written, Democrats argued, did not allow for votes to be taken on documents and witnesses – only for a vote on a procedural motion to allow for later votes on documents and witnesses.

Both Democrats and the president’s counsel offered brief remarks about the 10th amendment but did not debate the measure in detail as the clock ticked closer to 1:30 a.m. Democrats wanted to allow each side additional time to respond to motions. This amendment failed in a 52-48 vote with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voting with Democrats. It was the first time a Republican had voted with Democrats throughout Tuesday’s marathon debate.