Senators take their seats for impeachment
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 1/21/20, 01:56 pm
Congress isn’t known for getting things done quickly, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hopes to wrap up the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in a matter of days. The Senate convened at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday to vote on the rules of the trial, which will likely take most of the afternoon.
How is it going to work? After senators take care of the rules and hear motions, House Democrats will have 24 hours, or two 12-hour sessions, to present their arguments for impeachment. The president’s team will have the same amount of time to make its defense. Senators will have 16 hours in which to question the two sides, who can then make two more hours of presentations each. Then the members will vote on whether to call witnesses. If they do, it will prolong the trial because the witnesses must first give depositions. If they don’t call witnesses, the senators can go right to a vote on Trump’s guilt or innocence.
McConnell likely isn’t the only senator hoping the trial moves quickly. Special rules during the proceedings forbid talking, standing, and the use of cellphones. Members can’t whisper to their neighbors or get up to stretch their legs while the trial is in session. Some senators have complained, but others have pointed out that juries in courtroom cases across the country are expected to follow the same rules.
Dig deeper: Read Harvest Prude’s report from The Stew on the politics of impeachment.
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