Washington — The first day of President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate stretched from midday Tuesday into the wee hours of Wednesday. It featured contentious exchanges between House managers acting as the prosecution and the White House legal team, with senators voting almost entirely along party lines to reject Democratic efforts to subpoena new witnesses.
Increasingly restless senators sat silently as impeachment managers and White House lawyers clashed over 11 amendments to a resolution setting the trial's rules. It was proposed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican and strong ally of the president.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is presiding over the trial, just the third of its type in U.S. history.
Democrats accuse Republicans of covering up a scheme by Mr. Trump to pressure Ukraine to benefit him politically, while Republicans argue Democrats should have challenged the White House in the courts to obtain the testimony and records they're now seeking.
The McConnell resolution delays votes on subpoenaing witnesses and documents until both sides finish presenting their opening arguments. A simple majority of senators — 51 votes— is needed to approve the resolution, amendments and other motions. There are 53 Republicans in the Senate and 47 Democrats, including two independents.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, offered a series of amendments to subpoena White House and administration officials, an effort that was doomed to fail after the first amendment was rejected in a straight party line vote of 53 to 47.
Nonetheless, ten more amendments were proposed as the session progressed. All were tabled, all but one with party line votes. Maine Republican Susan Collins sided with Democrats on one measure.
Finally, nearly 13 hours after the opening gavel, the Senate adjourned until 1 p.m. Wednesday.
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Senate wraps up session that lasted almost 13 hours
After a session that was just shy of 13 hours -- twelve hours and 50 minutes, to be exact -- the Senate finally adjourned at 1:50 a.m. It's scheduled to reconvene at 1 p.m.
Senate passes McConnell's proposed organizing resolution
After more than 12 hours of debate, the Senate passed the organizing resolution from McConnell, without any of the 11 amendments proposed by Schumer.
The vote was, yet again, along party lines, 53-47.
Senate tables 11th and final amendment
After several hours of considering various amendments, the Senate voted to table the 11th and final amendment. It once again voted along party lines, 53 to 47.
The Senate will now proceed to vote on the resolution itself.
Schumer introduces 11th amendment
Schumer introduced what appeared to be the last amendment of the night shortly before 1:30 a.m. It would authorize the chief justice to determine if the Senate should summon a witness or documents.
9th, 10th amendments introduced and tabled
The 9th amendment to the resolution was tabled along party lines and a 10th amendment was introduced. House managers and the White House legal team chose not to debate the amendment, which would allow additional time to consider motions to subpoena witnesses.
The tenth amendment, like the previous ones, was then tabled. Republican Senator Susan Collins voted against tabling the motion, the first Republican defection of the night.
Schumer offers 9th amendment
Schumer has offered the ninth amendment from Democrats. It provides for a Senate vote on any motion to subpoena witnesses and documents after the question and answer period during the trial.
Roberts admonishes impeachment managers, White House lawyers
After a particularly impassioned argument between Nadler and the White House legal team, Roberts weighed in, saying the two sides need to remember where they are standing.
"I think it's appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the house managers and the president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body. One reason it's earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse," Roberts said. "I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are."
Eighth amendment, to subpoena John Bolton, fails
The eighth amendment, to subpoena John Bolton, was tabled along party lines. The vote was again 53-47.
Schumer introduces eighth amendment
Shortly after midnight, Schumer introduced an eighth amendment to subpoena John Bolton to appear before the Senate. It is also likely to fail.
7th Schumer amendment fails
The seventh amendment proposed by Schumer, a measure to prevent selective admission of evidence and provide for appropriate handling of classified and confidential material, failed along party lines, 53-47.
The voting began just before midnight ET and crossed over into Wednesday morning before all 100 votes were tallied.
McConnell calls for five-minute recess
Senators continue to look weary-eyed and worn as the proceedings went well into the 10th hour. There's a lot more talking during the roll call of votes than there were at any point during the day. Senators continue to mill around and stand in the back, likely to stretch their legs.
In what appears to be the first bipartisan exchange of day one, Senator Booker approached Senators Tim Scott and Ben Sasse. The exchange appeared lighthearted and cheerful with Booker giving Scott a hug. After that, Booker went over to Senator Marco Rubio and got extremely close to whisper something in his ear.
Schumer introduces 7th amendment to prevent selective admission of evidence
After the sixth amendment failed, Schumer introduced yet another. The 7th amendment seeks to prevent selective admission of evidence and provide for appropriate handling of classified and confidential material.
After the resolution was proposed, McConnell called for a five-minute recess.
— Grace Segers, John Nolen
Sixth amendment proposed by Democrats fails
The sixth amendment proposed by Schumer, a measure to subpoena White House staffers Robert Blair and Michael Duffey, failed along party lines, 53-47. The Senate has voted to table every amendment set forward by Schumer so far.
Senators appear to be losing patience
When Chief Justice John Roberts said Democrats had 38 minutes left to debate the 5th amendment, people on the GOP side audibly groaned. Senator Cotton snorted when Representative Schiff said he would be brief in making his closing arguments.
Schiff did make the case for why we are all staying up so late to go methodically through these amendments; Schiff said that the purpose of the amendments is "to make it hard for you to say no" to a fair trial.
Essentially, Democrats are forcing Republicans again and again to go on the record about their opposition to calling for witnesses now. Of course, Republicans argue that the proposed organizing resolution allows for a vote on witnesses — but after initial arguments are made.
When impeachment manager Sylvia Garcia began debating the 6th amendment, the Republican side of the chamber was nearly half empty, and a good portion of Democrats were absent too.
Schumer introduces 6th amendment to subpoena White House staffers Robert Blair and Michael Duffey
After the fifth amendment proposed by Democrats failed, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed the sixth amendment of the day. This amendment is a move to subpoena White House staffers Robert Blair and Michael Duffey.
Blair is an adviser to chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Duffey is a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget who ordered the Pentagon to freeze aid to Ukraine.
5th Schumer amendment on subpoenaing documents from DOD fails
The Senate voted to table the fifth motion proposed by Democrats, a subpoena request for documents from the Defense Department.
The vote to table the amendment passed along party lines, 53 to 47.
Schumer introduces new amendment to subpoena documents from DOD
Schumer introduced the fifth amendment of the night, indicating Tuesday's session is far from being concluded. The amendment is a subpoena request for documents from the Defense Department.
McConnell calls for a quorum of senators
McConnell asked Schumer whether he would be willing to consider stacking any successive amendments so that the Senate could vote on all the amendments at once, instead of going through two hours of debate for each vote. Schumer said that Democrats wanted to present all arguments, and would not settle for stacking votes, but that he would be willing to hold the votes on the remaining amendments tomorrow.
McConnell then called for a quorum, which is essentially a roll call to ensure that a majority of senators are present in the Senate chamber. This amounts to little more than a stalling technique which allows Republicans and Democrats to consider next steps.
4th Schumer amendment on subpoenaing Mick Mulvaney fails
The Senate voted to table the fourth motion proposed by Democrats, a subpoena for White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify.
The vote to table the amendment passed along party lines, 53 to 47.
Mulvaney is also the head of the Office of Management and Budget, and was key in the process of delaying aid to Ukraine.
— Kathryn Watson
Cipollone: "Seriously, can we please start?"
White House counsel Pat Cipollone, not alone in his frustration of the lateness of the hour, pleaded with Democrats to get oral arguments underway.
It's getting late, Cipollone noted after 9 p.m. passed with no clear endpoint in sight. The top White House lawyer suggested the Senate has "wasted" a day trying to get documents and witnesses.
"Seriously, can we please start?" Cipollone asked.
4 House impeachment managers discuss trial on the "CBS Evening News"
Four of the House impeachment managers — Adam Schiff, Val Demings, Zoe Lofgren and Jason Crow — discussed the impeachment trial with "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnellthat aired Tuesday evening.
Schiff, who is also chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said some intelligence agencies have "stopped cooperating" with an ongoing investigation in the House, possibly "on the instruction of others."
"We have requested intelligence, relevant intelligence, concerning Ukraine as a part of our oversight responsibility," Schiff said when asked what evidence his committee is requesting. "The intelligence agencies — some of them have stopped cooperating. And it's our understanding they're doing this on the instructions of others, or with the advice of others."
Senators re-energized after dinner, but a sense of restlessness lingers
The Senate reconvened shortly after 8 p.m. to begin arguments on the fourth amendment proposed by Senator Chuck Schumer. The senators seemed energized by their half-hour break. Senator Mike Braun told reporters Republicans had pizza, so that may have helped with the energy levels.
A few senators still seem to be taking extensive notes: Kelly Loeffler, James Lankford, Rob Portman, Dan Sullivan, Tammy Baldwin, Debbie Stabenow and Amy Klobuchar in particular.
There is still a sense of restlessness in the chamber. Senator Lisa Murkowski was rocking on the two back legs of her chair, and Senator Bill Cassidy took off his watch and started fidgeting with it.
On a lighter note, Representative Hakeem Jeffries quoted fellow Brooklyn-native Biggie Smalls while presenting his argument, stating "If you don't know, now you know."
This is not the first time Jeffries has quoted the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" in Congress.
Klobuchar: "You can't have a trial with zero witnesses and zero documents"
Senator Amy Klobuchar criticized Senate Republicans for continuing to vote down amendments proposed by her Democratic colleagues.
"I'm someone that always keeps looking at my colleagues to see if they look guilty. And some of them are kind of looking down," Klobuchar said. "I don't know how they can deny all witnesses, and let's see what they do after a few days of this."
"You can't have a trial with zero witnesses and zero documents," she concluded. "That is not how this works."
Schumer introduces 4th amendment as Senate breaks for dinner
After his third proposed amendment was rejected along party lines, Schumer introduced a fourth amendment to subpoena Mick Mulvaney. Impeachment managers and the White House legal team will each have an hour to debate the measure, which is almost certain to fail.
McConnell moved to break for 30 minutes for dinner.
3rd Schumer amendment on OMB records fails
The Senate voted to table the third motion proposed by Democrats, a subpoena for records from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The vote to table the amendment passed along party lines, 53 to 47.
No end in sight as Schumer offers 3rd amendment
Schumer offered his third amendment to the organizing resolution, requesting a subpoena for more records.
McConnell said the Senate would proceed with two hours of debate on the third amendment, divided between the House and the defense. He proposed a 30-minute break for dinner after voting to table this amendment.
Representative Jason Crow picked up the mantle to argue in favor of the amendment on behalf of the House managers.
2nd Schumer amendment on State Department docs fails 53-47
In another party-line 53-47 vote, senators voted to table Schumer's motion to subpoena State Department records.
Schumer immediately introduced a third amendment to subpoena records from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Senators grow restless as debate over amendments drags on
At the beginning of the day, the mood in the Senate chamber was tense and focused. But after more than five hours, it was the exact opposite. Senators were restless and fidgety, frequently moving in their seats. Several were slouching or sitting with their chairs pushed back from their desks.
Their restlessness was obvious. In a ritual he repeated multiple times, Senator Bernie Sanders gently clapped his palms together in front of his face before resting his clasped hands in front of him.
Senators Ben Sasse and Tim Scott were not as active as they were earlier in the day, although they did exchange a few notes. At one point, Sasse received a large manila envelope and proceeded to tear it open extremely slowly, presumably to stifle the noise. It didn't work.
Several senators on both sides of the aisle were no longer watching the videos presented by impeachment managers. During one, Senator Mark Warner aggressively rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands.
In fact, the only people in the chamber who still seemed to be wholly engaged after 6 p.m. are the impeachment managers. They continue to take notes and confer, even as the senators' boredom becomes more and more obvious.
Meadows: Democrats' arguments are "twice baked potatoes"
Representative Mark Meadows, one of the president's surrogates on Capitol Hill, dismissed the arguments by the impeachment managers.
"I think it's been a good day for Pat Cipollone and his team. It's been twice baked potatoes for Adam Schiff and his team," Meadows told reporters.
Meadows also said that Mr. Trump is "closely monitoring what's happening here in the Senate" on his trip to Davos, Switzerland.
Meadows will not be presenting before the Senate, but said he and fellow Republican Representative Lee Zeldin "will circle back with White House counsel to let them know some of the arguments that were made by Adam Schiff" were "not truly and wholly accurate." — Grace Segers, Kimberly Brown and Alan He
2nd Schumer amendment calls for subpoena for State Department documents
Schumer proposed another amendment that would direct the chief justice to issue a subpoena to the secretary of state compelling him to produce documents relating to:
- Meetings and calls between Mr. Trump and Zelensky
- The withholding of military aid to Ukraine
- All records created or received by Pompeo, Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, former Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker, Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, then United States Embassy in Ukraine Charge d'Affaires William B. Taylor, and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland related to dealings with Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry
- Meetings at or involving the White House that relate to dealings with Ukraine
- Communications between State Department officials and Zelensky or others associated with the Ukrainian president
- Records identified by witnesses in the House's impeachment inquiry that memorialize key events or concerns
- Meetings, calls and records between State Department officials and Giuliani, Toensing, or diGenova
- The recall of Yovanovitch from her post in Kiev
Schumer amendment to subpoena White House fails in 53-47 vote
In a 53-47 party line vote — the first of the Senate trial — the chamber tabled an amendment from Schumer to subpoena White House records. Those records would have included information and conversations about the decision to withhold aid to Ukraine.
"Tabling" means the amendment is dead. Republicans remained united to defeat the amendment, an indication that Democratic efforts to compel testimony prior to opening statements are likely to fail.
Schumer's amendment would have directed the chief justice to subpoena acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and order him to turn over documents and communications regarding the president's 2019 phone calls with Zelensky and records about probes into the Bidens and Ukraine's role in the 2016 election.
Schiff: "We are ready to present our case"
Schiff rejected the argument from White House lawyers that the House managers are unprepared because they're seeking new evidence and testimony.
"We are ready to present our case," Schiff said. "If you'll let us."
Schiff balked at Republicans' claims that the House proceedings were secretive, joking that the secure room where they occurred was so restrictive that 100 members of Congress were allowed inside.
Schiff said the defense team can claim all they like that the White House had no opportunity to present evidence, but that's not accurate. The president had that opportunity to participate in hearings in the Judiciary Committee and chose not to.
"There's a reason for that," Schiff said. He said senators should take advantage of the opportunity to obtain documents withheld by the White House. — Grace Segers and Kathryn Watson
Lofgren urges support for Schumer amendment
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California, one of the House's impeachment managers, voiced support for Schumer's amendment to subpoena White House documents.
"The Senate can remedy President Trump's unprecedented cover-up by taking a straightforward step. It can ask for the key evidence that the president has improperly blocked," Lofgren said.
Lofgren said the documents would help shed light on the extent of the White House's coordination with Rudy Giuliani and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland with regards to Ukraine and demonstrate how key White House officials helped set up a deal to pressure Ukraine to investigate Mr. Trump's political rivals by withholding military aid.
The California Democrat detailed the precedent set in past impeachment hearings and the reasons why the documents are crucial to senators as they weigh the case against Mr. Trump. Lofgren was a staffer on the House Judiciary Committee during impeachment proceedings against President Nixon and served in the House during President Clinton's impeachment.
"It would be remarkable for the United States Senate to declare for the first time in our nation's history that the president has an absolute right to decide whether his own impeachment trial is legitimate," Lofgren said. "And it would be extraordinary for the Senate to refuse to seek important documentary evidence especially when the president has yet to assert any privilege to justify withholding documents."
Schiff: Trump lawyers "made no effort" to defend resolution
Taking the floor to debate the amendment proposed by Schumer, Schiff noted the president's lawyers had largely avoided defending McConnell's organizing resolution. Instead, Sekulow and Cipollone directly attacked Schiff, as well as other impeachment managers, and the articles of impeachment themselves.
"They said nothing about the resolution," Schiff said about Sekulow and Cipollone, kicking off two hours of debate over Schumer's amendment. "They made no effort to defend it."
Schiff was animated as he criticized the president's legal team, although he said that he would not attack his counterparts.
"I'm not going to do them the dignity of responding to them," Schiff said, but argued that Sekulow and Cipollone were seeking to attack him to distract from the real purpose of the trial. "When you hear them attack the house managers, what you're really hearing is, 'We don't want to talk about the president's guilt.'"
Schiff also said the resolution's proposal to hear opening statements and then decide on whether to call witness was "ass-backwards."
He ceded the floor to Representative Zoe Lofgren, one of his fellow managers.— Grace Segers
Tension descends on chamber as silenced senators absorb debate
The mood in the Senate was tense as Schiff, the lead House manager, argued against McConnell's organizing resolution and Sekulow and Cipollone were given the chance to offer a rebuttal.
Although senators are not allowed to talk, some found ways to communicate. Viewed from the press gallery, Republicans Tim Scott and Ben Sasse appeared to be passing notes, with one writing something short on a piece of paper and then handing it to the other, who would then jot down a reply. They laughed quietly a few times.
Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Patty Murray wore stony expressions as Cipollone and Sekulow spoke, their arms folded most of the time. Senator Bernie Sanders had his hand in front of his face the whole time, his brow noticeably furrowed.
When Cipollone referenced the presidential candidates, saying they would rather be in Iowa, Warren gave him a stony glare and Sanders' brow furrowed even more.
Under an obscure provision, senators are permitted to drink either water or milk in the chamber during the trial. No one, however, appeared to be partaking in the latter.
Schumer offers amendment to subpoena White House for documents
Schumer offered the first amendment to McConnell's organizing resolution. It calls on Roberts to issue a subpoena to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to compel him to turn over all documents regarding the following:
- Meetings and calls between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
- Investigations, inquiries or other probes that relate to former Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Burisma Holdings, interference by Ukraine in the 2016 election, the Democratic National Committee, or Crowdstrike
- The actual or proposed withholding of aid to Ukraine
- Records from Mulvaney, Bolton, Blair, and other White House officials relating to efforts to persuade Ukraine to announce investigations, to schedule a White House meeting for Zelensky, to hold and release military aid to Ukraine
- Meetings at to involving the White House that relate to Ukraine
- Meetings, phone calls or discussions related to concerns raised by National Security Council officials to NSC lawyers regarding the president's dealings with Ukraine
- Any internal review or assessment within the White House regarding Ukraine matters after the House's September 9 request for documents
- The complaint submitted by the anonymous whistleblower to the intelligence community inspector general
- Meetings or calls between White House officials, including Mr. Trump, and Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Victoria Toensing, or Joseph diGenova
- Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, including the decision to recall her from her post in Kiev
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow gives spirited defense of Trump, linking impeachment to Russia probe
Jay Sekulow, the president's personal attorney, took to the floor to deliver a much more spirited defense of the president than Cipollone.
Sekulow, employing hand gestures more liberally and inflections in his voice more frequently than the more subdued Cipollone, said House Democrats' impeachment efforts were part of a years-long effort to bring down the president.
"When the Russia investigation failed, it devolved into the Ukraine. A quid pro quo, when that didn't prove out it was bribery or maybe extortion," Sekulow said. "But instead we get two articles of impeachment."
Sekulow asked the senators why they are here — because of a phone call with Ukraine, or because Democrats have wanted to remove Mr. Trump from office since the day he took the oath.
Mr. Trump arrived back at his hotel in Davos around the time Sekulow began his statements.
"READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!" the president tweeted from Davos.
McConnell changes resolution after objections from senators
McConnell made changes to his resolution that should allow senators — and everyone else working and watching the trial — to get a little more sleep.
The Senate majority leader changed the text to allow each side to make 24 hours of arguments over three days instead of two, presumably to avoid proceedings stretching into the early morning hours, as Schumer had predicted. (Some Senate observers noted that Senator Chuck Grassley, the president pro tempore, has an early bedtime.)
McConnell also adjusted the language to admit the record of the House impeachment inquiry into evidence automatically, eliminating the need for a vote.
A spokesperson for Senator Susan Collins said Collins and other lawmakers raised objections about the marathon sessions and lack of a guaranteed House record.
"She and others raised concerns about the 24 hours of opening statements in two days and the admission of the House transcript is the record," the spokesperson said. "Her position has been that the trial should follow the Clinton model as much as possible. She thinks these changes are a significant improvement." — Kathryn Watson, John Nolen and Alan He
Schiff: Vote on trial rules "the most important decision in this case"
Schiff spoke on behalf of the impeachment managers in opposition to McConnell's resolution. He characterized the vote on the resolution as "the most important decision in this case," rising above even the eventual votes on whether to convict or acquit Mr. Trump on the two articles of impeachment.
"The most important question is the question you must answer today. Will the president and the American people get a fair trial? Will there be a fair trial?" Schiff said. "I submit that this is an even more important question than how you vote on guilt or innocence, because whether we have a fair trial will determine whether you have a basis to render a fair and impartial verdict."
The California Democrat said the resolution should allow the House managers to obtain documents that have been withheld and both sides to call witnesses.
"Why should this trial be different than any other trial? The short answer is it shouldn't," Schiff said, adding that McConnell's proposed rules turn the trial process "on its head."
Schiff added that waiting until the end of the trial for documents and witnesses will harm the American people and the Senate.
White House counsel voices support for resolution
White House counsel Pat Cipollone, one of two lead attorneys on the president's defense team, stood in front of the Senate chamber to voice support for McConnell's resolution.
The top White House lawyer, who rarely speaks in public, will be one of the public faces of the president's defense in the coming weeks. Cipollone said the resolutions' rules are "fair," and insisted it's "long past time" to start the Senate trial.
"We believe that once you hear those initial presentations, the only conclusion will be that the president has done absolutely nothing wrong," Cipollone told the Senate.
White House responds to House demand for evidence from Cipollone
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley lambasted a request from the House impeachment managers for White House counsel Pat Cipollone to turn over first-hand evidence related to the impeachment effort.
"The Democrats are an utter joke — they have no case, and this latest political stunt proves it," Gidley said in a statement. "The idea that the counsel to the President has to turn over protected documents and confidential information is ludicrous, and to imply he can't represent the president of the United States in an impeachment proceeding is completely absurd."
Gidley also claimed it's Schiff, not Cipollone, who "should be disqualified from leading this proceeding."
Roberts swears in Inhofe, officially kicking off trial
Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who missed last week's swearing in due to a family matter, became the final senator to be sworn in ahead of the trial Tuesday afternoon. He was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Inhofe signed the "oath book" that all other senators signed last week.
The sergeant at arms then announced that all senators are to remain silent "upon pain of imprisonment" during the beginning of the trial.
McConnell said that briefs by House Democrats and the White House are available for each senator, and Roberts noted those documents have been entered into the record.
Schumer calls McConnell's resolution "a national disgrace"
Schumer spoke after McConnell, before the Senate formally convened to begin the trial. The Democratic leader reiterated his position that McConnell's resolution is one-sided in favor of the president.
"The McConnell resolution is nothing short of a national disgrace," Schumer continued. "The Republican leader's resolution is based neither in precedent nor in principle."
Schumer urged his colleagues to support his amendments to the resolution and reject McConnell's proposal as it stands.
The view from the White House: "They want to get this over with as quickly as possible"
House managers: Senate should reject Trump's "bluster and evasion"
The House's seven impeachment managers filed their reply to Mr. Trump's trial brief with the secretary of the Senate.
"The Senate should swiftly reject President Trump's bluster and evasion, which amount to the frightening assertion that he may commit whatever misconduct he wishes, at whatever cost to the nation, and then hide his actions from the representatives of the American people without repercussion," the managers wrote in their 34-page filing.
The House Democrats rejected the defenses offered by the president's legal team in their, including that he committed no impeachable offenses and that such offenses must involve criminal conduct.
"Mr. Trump's brief confirms that his misconduct is indefensible," the managers wrote, adding that it "entirely lacks a legitimate defense of his misconduct."
The managers said if the Senate does not convict, Mr. Trump "will have succeeded in placing himself above the law."
"President Trump's view that he cannot be held accountable, except in an election he seeks to fix in his favor, underscores the need for the Senate to exercise its solemn constitutional duty to remove President Trump from office," they wrote.
The impeachment managers said the president's charge that he acted with transparency "bears no resemblance to the facts" and rebuffed Mr. Trump's criticisms of the House's impeachment inquiry.
"Any imagined defect in the House's previous proceedings could be cured when the evidence is presented to the Senate at trial. President Trump, after all, touted his desire to 'have a fair trial in the Senate.' And as President Trump admits, it is the Senate's 'constitutional duty to decide for itself all matters of law and fact bearing upon this trial,'" the managers argued. "Acquitting President Trump on baseless objections to the House's process would be an abdication by the Senate of this duty."
"A question of fairness"
McConnell says he'll move to block early motions on witnesses
McConnell addressed the Senate ahead of the vote on the organizing resolution and said he would move to reject Democratic motions to call witnesses before opening arguments.
"Our founders trusted the Senate to rise above the short-term passions and factionalism," McConnell said. He said passage of the organizing resolution would serve as a test of the Senate's ability to conduct a fair trial.
"Can the Senate still serve our founding purpose? Can we still put fairness, evenhandedness, and precedent ahead of the partisan passions of the day?" McConnell asked.
He indicated debate over the organizing resolution could go on for some time.
"The Senate should prepare to remain in session today until we complete this resolution and adopt it," McConnell said. He preemptively addressed the amendments Schumer plans to offer, saying he would move to table, or reject, them.
The senators themselves will not be allowed to speak during the debate over the resolution, which will be conducted by the House managers and the president's lawyers.
What to expect on Day 1 of Trump's Senate impeachment trial
Here's a rundown of how the first day of the Senate trial is expected to play out:
- At 1 p.m., the Senate convenes to sit as a court of impeachment.
- The Senate sergeant at arms makes a proclamation: "Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, president of the United States."
- Possible swearing in of Senator James Inhofe, who was dealing with a family medical issue when other senators took the oath last week.
- McConnell offers his organizing resolution setting the rules for the impeachment trial.
- Two hours of debate on the McConnell resolution begins, divided evenly between the House managers and the White House defense team. Senators are not allowed to speak except to offer motions, amendments and votes, and during closed sessions.
- Following arguments on the resolution, senators can offer amendments, with two hours of evenly divided debate. Schumer, the Democratic leader, said he will offer several amendments on calling witnesses and documents.
- There's no time limit for offering amendments on Tuesday.
- At some point, there will be a final roll call vote on the resolution, requiring 51 votes to pass.
- The senators can take short breaks from the trial over the course of the day.
Senators can make a motion to go into closed session at any time with a majority vote. During a closed session, everyone except the senators, Chief Justice John Roberts and a handful of staff are kicked out of the chamber. House managers are gone, the White House defense team is gone, members of the press and the public — everyone leaves, and the cameras are turned off.
The Senate held extensive closed sessions during the Clinton impeachment trial. A number of senators have said recently that they prefer the vast majority of the proceedings to be out in the open this time around.
Durbin says he's had "encouraging" conversations with some GOP senators
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin told reporters he's had "encouraging" conversations with some Republican senators ahead of the impeachment trial.
"Some of them are encouraging, some not. And some tell me I wouldn't believe the meetings of their own caucus on some of these subjects. They're pretty extreme," Durbin said about his conversations with a "few" Republican senators who he declined to name.
Durbin also condemned McConnell, saying the majority leader's impeachment resolution was "a contravention of the Constitution and the impeachment proceedings in the past."
"He characterized himself as a man of the Senate, who has given his life to this institution. He is destroying it brick by brick by these decisions, one after the other. Someone needs to call him on that, I hope on his side of the aisle," Durbin said about McConnell.
White House "very pleased' with Davos "counterprogramming" and Senate rules
As the Senate impeachment trial begins, the president is thousands of miles away in Davos, Switzerland,at the World Economic Forum.
A senior administration official tells CBS News the White House is "very pleased" with the timing of the Davos trip.
"This is good counterprogramming," the official said.
The White House likes the image of the president meeting with world leaders as he dismisses impeachment as a sham and a "hoax," this person said. The president is getting periodic updates on the proceedings, press secretary Stephanie Grisham said earlier, and will have time to watch some of the proceedings after his dinner in Davos, given the time difference.
Publicly, the White House has deferred to McConnell on the rules for the trial, but another senior administration official said they are supportive of the trial being fast-tracked. — Ben Tracy and Kathryn Watson
Schumer condemns McConnell resolution
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed reporters and condemned McConnell's proposed organizing resolution, criticizing the Republican leader for not releasing the text until Monday night.
"It was completely partisan," Schumer said. "The McConnell rules seem to be designed by President Trump, for President Trump."
Schumer added that McConnell wants the trial "rushed" to be conducted in the "wee hours of the night." As impeachment managers and White House lawyers are provided two 12-hour days to present their cases, the proceedings will likely continue into the early hours of in the morning.
"It will go down in history as one of the very dark days in the Senate," Schumer said.
Schumer also pointed out the differences between McConnell's organizing resolution and the rules for the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999, including the condensed time frame for each side to present its case. The McConnell resolution also allows a motion for the charges to be dismissed at any time.
"He's afraid of evidence. So is President Trump. So are the president's men," Schumer said about McConnell.
Schumer said he would offer several amendments to McConnell's resolution Tuesday afternoon: an amendment to request documents about the hold on aid to Ukraine from the White House be entered into the record, and a series of amendments on previously requested documents and witnesses.
"The eyes of America are watching. Republican senators must rise to the occasion," Schumer said.
Schiff: McConnell's proposal is a "profound departure from the Clinton precedent"
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the House managers, voiced his strong disagreement with McConnell's proposed rules, arguing that the circumstances differ significantly from the Clinton impeachment trial.
"This resembles nothing like the Clinton proceeding," Schiff told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Ahead of the Clinton trial, Schiff noted, more than 90,000 documents were admitted as evidence before trial, including material from the independent counsel's investigation and grand jury proceedings. Under McConnell's resolution, each piece of evidence would be subject to a vote before being admitted.
Schiff said many witnesses in Clinton's case had already testified in the House, with several eventually providing sworn depositions in the Senate trial. In order to follow the Clinton model, witnesses who did not appear before the House in the Trump impeachment inquiry should testify before the trial begins, Schiff said.
The House Intelligence Committee chairman also decried the compressed timeline for the trial. These proceedings could conceivably go "well into the night," when most Americans aren't watching, he said.
"This is the process if you do not want the American people to see the evidence," he added.
McConnell, Schiff said, has taken an oath to do impartial justice, not to move forward with a process in which American's can't see and digest evidence. If no documents or witnesses are presented, Schiff said the Senate would be complicit in covering up the president's actions.
Asked which potential witnesses he would like to hear from, Schiff mentioned former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, among others.
Schiff said the president should also have the right to call "material witnesses" in the trial.
Senators barred from speaking and using cellphones during trial
The lengthy Senate proceedings could end up testing the patience of senators, who must sit in silence in the chamber without access to cellphones for the duration of the trial.
According to rules of decorum distributed by party leaders last week, senators "will only have the opportunity for limited speech at the trial" and may not converse with each other while each side presents its case.
Moreover, senators — who are usually allowed to bring their phones with them to the floor — will need to leave all electronic devices in the cloakroom just outside the chamber. Senate pages, however, will be available to deliver messages to and from senators from outside the chamber.
Don't expect to see lawmakers flipping through novels to pass the time, either — only reading material specifically pertaining to the impeachment trial will be allowed.
If the resolution proposed by McConnell passes as expected, impeachment managers and the White House lawyers will have 24 hours to present their cases. Those 24 hours would be broken up over two days, meaning senators would sit silently through 12-hour days for four days in a row. After opening statements, senators would be allowed to submit written questions to the House managers and the president's defense team.
House managers demand White House counsel disclose first-hand evidence
The seven Democratic House impeachment managers are demanding White House counsel Pat Cipollone, the president's lead attorney in the impeachment trial, disclose first-hand facts and information related to the proceedings involving Mr. Trump.
In a letter to Cipollone on Tuesday, the managers wrote he is a "material witness" to the charges against the president and therefore must turn over first-hand evidence "so that the Senate and chief justice can be apprised of any potential ethical issues, conflicts, or biases."
"In light of your extensive knowledge of these key events, your personal representation of President Trump threatens to undermine the integrity of the pending trial," the managers said. "You may be a material witness to the charges against President Trump even though you are also his advocate."
The managers said that evidence the House compiled during its impeachment inquiry indicates Cipollone has "detailed knowledge of the facts" regarding the first article against Mr. Trump, abuse of power. They charge he "played an instrumental role in the conduct" detailed in the second article, obstruction of Congress.
Cipollone wrote letters to White House officials subpoenaed for testimony by the House directing them not to comply.
House Democrats slam McConnell's proposed rules for Senate trial
House Democrats are taking aim at the organizing resolution revealed by McConnell on Tuesday, which lays out the rules for Mr. Trump's impeachment trial.
In separate statements Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the seven impeachment managers accused McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, of trying to conceal the president's conduct.
"Leader McConnell's process is deliberately designed to hide the truth from the Senate and from the American people, because he knows that the president's wrongdoing is indefensible and demands removal," Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said.
The impeachment managers who will argue the House's case for why Mr. Trump should be convicted and removed from office said the ground rules laid out by McConnell would hardly allow for a trial, let alone one that is fair.
"A White House-driven and rigged process, with a truncated schedule designed to go late into the night and further conceal the president's misconduct, is not what the American people expect or deserve," they said.
Both Pelosi and the impeachment managers rejected comparisons by McConnell to the Clinton impeachment trial. The speaker accused McConnell of lying and misleading the American people by saying Mr. Trump's proceedings would adhere to the rules set out in Clinton's trial, while the House managers said the parameters of Mr. Trump's triral are designed to "prevent the full truth of the president's misconduct from coming to light."
White House: Trump will be briefed "periodically" while in Davos
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters in Switzerland that Mr. Trump will receive updates "periodically" on the Senate's impeachment trial while he is in Davos for the World Economic Forum.
"He has a full day here in Davos, but will be briefed by staff periodically," Grisham said.
Mr. Trump arrived in Switzerland on Tuesday morning and delivered remarks at the gathering. He is scheduled to meet with the president of the European Commission, the prime minister of Pakistan and the president of the Swiss Confederation before attending a dinner with CEOs from around the world.
Schiff says calling Hunter Biden as witness would be an "abuse" of impeachment trial
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the House impeachment managers, said the question of whether witnesses are heard in Mr. Trump's Senate impeachment trial may have to be settled by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who will be presiding over the trial. But Schiff warned that witnesses like Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden's son, are "immaterial" and would constitute an "abuse" of the Senate trial.
In an exclusive interview, "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell asked Schiff whether Democrats are prepared for who Republicans might want to call as witnesses. The Democrats have requested four witnesses: former national security adviser John Bolton; acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; senior adviser to Mulvaney, Robert Blair; and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey.
One of the names that's been floated for Republicans is Hunter Biden, who was on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father was vice president.
"It would certainly be fair for the president and his team to be able to call witnesses that can provide material information on the charges. It would not be appropriate for the president to seek to call witnesses merely to try to perpetuate the same smear campaign that was foiled when his plot was discovered," Schiff told O'Donnell. "Hunter Biden, for example, can't tell us anything about whether the president withheld military aid, whether he withheld that aid to coerce Ukraine to conduct political investigations. Or why he wouldn't meet with the president of Ukraine."
McConnell outlines proposed rules for trial
The Senate's Republican leadership has released the rules that would govern the president's impeachment trial should they be approved by the chamber.
The four-page resolution allows the House managers and the president's legal team the same amount of time offered in President Clinton's impeachment trial. Both sides will be given 24 hours over two days each, which could mean four 12-hour days of testimony for opening arguments alone.
Only after opening arguments and another 16 hours of questioning from senators, will there be a vote or votes on whether to consider witnesses.
"If the Senate agrees to allow either the House of Representatives or the president to subpoena witnesses, the witnesses shall first be deposed and the Senate shall decide after deposition which witnesses shall testify, pursuant to the impeachment rules," the resolution says.
"No testimony shall be admissible in the Senate unless the parties have had an opportunity to depose such witnesses. At the conclusion of the deliberations by the Senate, the Senate shall vote on each article of impeachment."
The rules must be approved by a majority of the Republican-controlled Senate to take effect.
John Nolen contributed reporting.
Schumer vows to challenge McConnell resolution
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused McConnell of trying to bury evidence, saying the GOP leader wants "key facts to be delivered in the wee hours of the night, simply because he doesn't want the American people to hear them. Plain and simple."
The New York Democrat also noted the rules make it much harder to add witnesses and evidence once arguments are heard.
"We will be able to force votes on witnesses and documents before his resolution is adopted tomorrow, and we will," Schumer said. "But, they've all said, so many senators, 'Let's hear the arguments and then we'll decide on witnesses and documents.' McConnell throws language in that makes that much harder to happen."
"Finally, Clinton resolution allowed for dismissal only after arguments were heard. This resolution allows for dismissal at any time," Schumer pointed out.
"It is a national disgrace" he said. "Impeachment is one of the few powers that Congress has when a president overreaches. To so limit impeachment, and make it so much less serious, is so, so wrong, and we will fight that tooth and nail."
Trump lawyers call impeachment "an affront to the Constitution"
In a legal brief ahead of his Senate trial, President Trump's legal team argued that the articles of impeachment passed by the House are "an affront to the Constitution" and should be rejected by the Senate.
The 110-page brief was written by Mr. Trump's personal attorney Jay Sekulow and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who are leading his impeachment defense. The White House filed it with the Senate ahead of a noon deadline on Monday.
The document lays out many of the same assertions that appeared a six-page brief the president's team filed over the weekend, largely that the "flimsy" impeachment articles "allege no crime or violation of law whatsoever" and don't warrant his removal from office.
House managers: Trump is the "Framers' worst nightmare come to life"
House impeachment managers called Mr. Trump the "Framers' worst nightmare come to life," urging the Senate to "place truth above faction" and convict the president on both articles of impeachment
The managers submitted a new nine-page filing to the secretary of the Senate in response to Mr. Trump's answer to a trial summons, which his legal team submitted Saturday.
In their filing, the House managers rejected the arguments raised by the president's lawyers and said Mr. Trump violated his oath of office by using his presidential powers to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election for his own gain.
"President Trump maintains that the Senate cannot remove him even if the House proves every claim in the Articles of impeachment. That is a chilling assertion. It is also dead wrong," the impeachment managers wrote. "The Framers deliberately drafted a Constitution that allows the Senate to remove presidents who, like President Trump, abuse their power to cheat in elections, betray our national security, and ignore checks and balances. That President Trump believes otherwise, and insists he is free to engage in such conduct again, only highlights the continuing threat he poses to the nation if allowed to remain in office."
The impeachment managers said Mr. Trump "offers an unconvincing and implausible defense against the factual allegations" detailed in the first article, abuse of power, and note that none of his predecessors have ordered officials to defy an impeachment subpoena. Mr. Trump's order for White House officials not to comply with those subpoenas are at the heart of the second article, obstruction of Congress.
"President Trump did not engage in this corrupt conduct to uphold the Presidency or protect the right to vote. He did it to cheat in the next election and bury the evidence when he got caught," the impeachment managers wrote.