Politics

With The Rules Set, Senate Trial Opening Arguments Begin

House Democratic impeachment managers led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California arrive for the start of the Senate trial on Tuesday. The managers begin opening arguments on Wednesday.
House Democratic impeachment managers led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California arrive for the start of the Senate trial on Tuesday. The managers begin opening arguments on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Opening arguments will be made today in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.

The Senate adopted a resolution that calls for 24 hours of opening statements for each side, to be spread over three days, after rejecting efforts by Democrats to subpoena documents the Trump administration has refused to turn over.

The GOP majority also rejected efforts to subpoena current and former Trump administration officials to testify, including former national security adviser John Bolton and current acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

When the Senate trial resumes at 1 p.m. ET, the House managers will begin to formally make their case that the Senate should convict President Trump on the two articles of impeachment, charging him with abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress.

In Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum meeting, Trump re-emphasized his view that the impeachment case against him is a "hoax."

"I think it's so bad for the country," he said, adding: "I'd love to go to the trial, sit in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces."

The president, who has previously said he is open to hearing from witnesses in the Senate trial, said Wednesday that that decision was ultimately up to the Senate.

"Personally, I'd rather go the long route," he said. But Trump, who is returning Wednesday to Washington, also cited "national security" as a reason why he he has reservations about testimony from some witnesses Democrats are seeking, such as John Bolton, the former national security adviser. Trump said Bolton knew too much about his personal conversations with other world leaders, and revealing them in any testimony could hurt the presidency.

"I don't know if we left on the best of terms, probably not, and you don't want someone testifying who didn't leave on the best of terms," Trump said of Bolton.

It is still possible but unclear whether the Senate will hear witnesses after the two sides have made their opening arguments. A number of GOP senators have expressed support for hearing from some witnesses. It would take four Republican Senators voting with all 47 Democrats to call for witnesses. But that would likely not happen until next week.

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