Impeachment Trial Runs Straight Into Rules Dispute

Impeachment Trial Runs Straight Into Rules Dispute

( – President Trump’s impeachment trial finally got underway Tuesday — but he wasn’t even in the country and nobody seemed to want to talk about him much anyway. Instead, the focus was all on the rules of the trial itself. Amazingly enough, the Democrats don’t seem to like them a lot — but the Senate voted to approve them anyway. Maybe the process spent so long bogged down in the House that Dems have forgotten what not being able to rig everything in their favor feels like.


The long-awaited impeachment case reached the Senate Tuesday, following weeks of delay caused by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) refusal to turn the articles of impeachment over to senators.

  • Even before the trial began, House Democrats were complaining about the rules drawn up by Senate Judiciary Committee chair Mitch McConnell (R-KY). When those rules — which, crucially, include a “kill switch” option to prevent the trial dragging on — were approved by the Republican majority the Dem protests just got louder.
  • Under the rules, each side of the trial will get 24 hours to make their opening statements, spread over 2 days. After that there will be another 16 hours of written questions and a 4-hour debate — and only then will there be votes on calling additional witnesses, which many Democrats want to do.
  • The impeachment managers who will act as the prosecution — an all-Democrat team, including Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) – immediately complained that McConnell had broken with the routine used in the Clinton impeachment.
  • According to a letter written by the managers, “If those efforts are successful, this will be the first impeachment trial in American history in which the Senate did not allow the House to present its case with witnesses and documents. The McConnell Resolution goes so far as to suggest it may not even allow the evidence gathered by the House to be admitted.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) claimed Wednesday that the trial is beginning under “a cloud of unfairness” after 11 amendments he suggested were all voted down.
  • What Schumer and other Dems don’t seem to understand is that if you’re outvoted because the other side has more elected representatives than you, that isn’t unfairness; it’s democracy.
  • The Democrat majority in the House has allowed them to control the impeachment process so far. Now that it’s moved to the majority-GOP Senate, that control has evaporated. It seems some of them need time to adjust to not getting their own way all the time.

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