Impeachment trial of President Trump

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2:20 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

The Senate heard debate on trial rules today. Here's what you need to know.

Sketch by Bill Hennessy
Sketch by Bill Hennessy

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.

1:50 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

The Senate adopts rules on a party line vote and adjourns for the night. Opening statements begin later today.

The Senate has adopted the rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on a party line vote of 53-47.

The vote comes after nearly 13 hours of debate. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed 11 amendments to the rules, all of which were killed by Senate Republicans.

The Senate adjourned for the end of the first day of the trial right after the vote.

Read more on the day here

1:52 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Senate is now voting on whether to adopt the proposed impeachment trial rules

Senate TV
Senate TV

The Senate is now voting on whether to adopt Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposed rules for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. The vote comes after more than 12 hours of debate and discussion over the rules and 11 amendments proposed by Democrats, all of which were killed by Senate Republicans.

1:40 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Senate kills 11th Democratic proposed amendment to impeachment trial rules

The Senate has killed the 11th, and final, proposed amendment to the Senate impeachment trial rules that was brought by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The final one would have given Chief Justice John Roberts power over subpoenaing witnesses and documents, instead of leaving it to a vote of the Senate.

The final amendment died, as did nearly all of the first 10, along party lines. The vote was 53-47.

1:31 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Schumer announces his 11th proposed amendment to the impeachment trial rules will be the last

Senate TV
Senate TV

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced his 11th proposed amendment to the rules of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial early Wednesday and said it would be his last. The previous 10 had all been defeated either on, or mostly on, party lines.

The 11th amendment would allow Chief Justice John Roberts to decide on whether to allow motions on subpoenas for witnesses and documents.

1:32 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Senate votes to kill a 10th amendment proposed by Democrats

Senate TV
Senate TV

The Senate just voted to kill the 10th amendment proposed to the rules for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. This amendment dealt with the amount of time allotted for written motions and responses during the trial.

That amendment was -- like the previous nine -- defeated, but this one wasn't completely on party lines: It went down 52-48. Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the lone Republican to cross party lines and vote with the Democrats.

1:21 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Senators are near the end of their rope as trial goes into early morning hours

By Jeremy Herb, CNN

Senate TV
Senate TV

Senators were definitely at the end of their rope during the debate over the ninth proposed amendment to the rules of the impeachment trial. The corner of the chamber has become a popular spot on both sides for congregating, pacing and quiet conversations.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, huddled while House impeachment manager Jerry Nadler was talking, and Sen. Bernie Sanders wound up there pacing back and forth.

Several senators are struggling to keep their eyes open, including Gillibrand.

The managers had to find a way to pass the time too. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, grabbed the special badge for the impeachment trial from a House Judiciary Committee aide to inspect it.

Sens. Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, sat intently listening to Nadler, and did not react when he accused Republicans of a cover up with their votes today.

Nadler also did not react when President Donald Trump's legal team attacked him by name. He took notes while they criticized him, staring straight ahead at his aides across the table.

1:18 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Senate kills a ninth amendment to impeachment trial rules proposed by Democrats

Senate TV
Senate TV

The Senate killed another proposed amendment to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposed rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, this one to force votes on witnesses and documents.

The amendment died on party lines, 53-47.

The amendment would have forced a vote of the Senate on any motion to subpoena witnesses and documents. The current proposed rules have a procedural vote that must pass before any actual vote on subpoenas for witnesses and documents.

1:09 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

House votes to kill amendment calling for John Bolton's testimony

The Senate voted 53-47 along party lines to kill a proposal from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that would have issued a subpoena for President Donald Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton's testimony.

Bolton has said he would testify if subpoenaed in the trial, and that still may come if a majority of senators vote to issue a subpoena later on in the trial. The amendment discussed Wednesday would have inserted the subpoena into the rules of the trial itself.

Schumer has asked for eight amendments to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposed rules for the impeachment trial and all have been defeated on party lines.

The Senate is now debating a ninth amendment, which requires a vote of the Senate on any motion to subpoena witnesses and documents. The current proposed rules have a procedural vote that must pass before any actual vote on subpoenas for witnesses and documents.