As President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial finally got underway this week, the Republican-led Senate adopted rules on how it will proceed. And unsurprisingly, Democrats aren’t happy about them.
According to USA Today, the 53 Senate Republicans defeated “each of the 11 amendments” to their rules proposed by Dems on Tuesday, “which included measures subpoenaing a variety of entities and officials — including the White House and [former National Security Adviser] John Bolton.” All 47 Democrats in the Senate voted against the rules, but it wasn’t enough to quash Republicans’ plans.
Spelling out the rules
Under the provisions of the resolution adopted Tuesday, opening arguments for Trump’s trial began Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House’s lead impeachment manager, laying out the charges against the president. Both the impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team will get 24 hours to present opening arguments spanning over a three-day period, according to USA Today.
Senators will then have 16 hours during which to ask questions to both sides. Afterward, USA Today noted, the senators “will have the opportunity to vote on whether they want to hear from additional witnesses or see additional documents.”
But while these rules got the OK of the majority of the Senate, Democrats weren’t pleased. Dems including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) put forward nearly a dozen amendments, but all were rejected by Republicans.
“You’re not in charge here”
The contentious atmosphere led to heated words from both sides on the Senate floor late into Tuesday night.
“No trial in America has ever been conducted like that,” Schiff complained at one point, according to a report from the Washington Examiner. Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler accused Republicans in the Senate of being part of a cover-up, according to The Washington Post, charging:
Either you want the truth and you must permit the witnesses or you want a shameful cover-up. History will judge and so will the electorate.
Those remarks raised the ire of lead Trump attorney Pat Cipollone, who insisted that the New York Democrat owed “an apology to the American people.”
“Mr. Nadler came up here and made false allegations against our team. He made false allegations against all of you. He accused you of a cover-up,” Cipollone told the Senate, according to the Daily Caller. “The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you for the way you’ve addressed this body. This is the United States Senate. You’re not in charge here.”
Eventually, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, told both sides to moderate their language, USA Today reported.
“Those addressing the Senate should remember where they are,” Roberts admonished, reminding both parties to “use language conducive to civil discourse.”
Of course, if Democrats can’t treat Trump fairly, it will be hard for the members of Trump’s legal team to watch their tongues.