The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump — only the third impeachment trial in US history — kicked off in earnest today. While there were procedural moves in the trial last week, today marked the first serious day of trial.
Here's what you need to know about how the day played out:
- The trial rules are set: The Senate voted on party lines to approve Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's resolution on the rules.
- McConnell's first draft was contentious: The Senate began debating the rules of the trial after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his resolution last night. The draft from Monday gave each side 24 hours — over the course of two days — to make opening arguments and said the House's evidence would not be admitted without a vote. Democrats slammed the rules, saying they were meant to "cover up" Trump's behavior, and there were even some concerns from Republicans.
- But there was a last-minute rules change: McConnell quietly changed the resolution on Tuesday before it was read aloud in the Senate. The new resolution gives each side three days to make their 24 hours of arguments and says evidence will be admitted automatically unless there is a motion from the President's team to throw out evidence.
- There were a lot of proposed amendments to the resolution: The House managers and White House defense team each had time to argue their side of the resolution. After that, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer offered11 amendment to it. Each of those was tabled after mostly party line votes.
- Chief Justice John Roberts admonished both sides for their lack of decorum: Roberts told both Trump's legal team and the House impeachment managers that they need to "remember where they are" after a feisty exchange.