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Impeachment trial: Democrats lay out timeline in case against Trump

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House managers present case against Trump in impeachment trial 03:40

Washington — House Democrats presented an exhaustive account of President Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine on the second day of the Senate impeachment trial, walking senators through a detailed timeline to argue the president abused his power and should be removed from office.

Led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the seven impeachment managers presented a mountain of evidence collected in the House's months-long investigation into the president's dealings with Ukraine. They punctuated their presentations with video clips and excerpts of hours of public testimony in the House from officials who witnessed many of the events in question, as well as the president's own words.

In a lengthy speech to kick off the proceedings, Schiff accused the president of orchestrating a "corrupt scheme" by using military aid to Ukraine and a coveted White House visit as leverage to pressure the Ukrainian president to pursue investigations into his political rivals, including the Bidens. 

"President Trump solicited foreign interference in our democratic elections, abusing the power of his office to seek help from abroad to improve his reelection prospects at home," Schiff said. "When he was caught, he used the powers of that office to obstruct the investigation into his own misconduct."

As senators drifted in and out of the chamber over the course of eight hours, he urged them to consider what kind of precedent they would set if they allow Mr. Trump to remain in office, framing impeachment as the only way to deter future presidents from engaging in similar behavior.

"If this conduct is not impeachable, then nothing is," Schiff said.

The Senate will reconvene at 1 p.m. for the second of three days of opening arguments by the House managers.

Download the free CBS News app for complete coverage of the president's impeachment trial in the Senate or watch live in the player above.


Trial adjourns for the night, to resume at 1 p.m. Thursday

Majority Leader McConnell concluded the business for the evening, but not before thanking the young Senate pages whose time at the Senate comes to a close on Thursday. 

Members of both parties clapped for the high school students who have carried notes, milk, and water for the members, along with a number of other duties. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also thanked the pages, noting it's rare to get every Senator in attendance on both sides of the aisle to applaud for a single cause.

In the final half hour of the proceedings, the chamber had the same air as a high school class just minutes ahead of the bell. Senators were checking their watches and packing up their papers, clearly ready for the day to be over. 

The trial will resume at 1 p.m. Thursday, when House managers will resume their arguments. 

Grace Segers and Kathryn Watson


Lofgren takes over arguing impeachment managers' case

Impeachment manager Zoe Lofgren took over for Adam Schiff at around 8:45 p.m., continuing the argument in favor of removing President Trump.

Throughout the day, impeachment managers have gone methodically through the timeline of the hold on aid to Ukraine. They have relied heavily on video of testimony from current and former administration officials during November's House impeachment inquiry hearings.

Lofgren picked up where Schiff left off, explaining the events leading up to when the hold on aid was released on September 11. Impeachment managers argue the hold was only released because a whistleblower complaint had raised concerns about the freeze.

By Grace Segers

Schiff: "If things are perfect, you don't get told go talk to the lawyers time and time again"

Schiff pointed out instances when the Senate could compel more documents or witnesses to provide a fuller record of the president's actions with Ukraine. In one, Schiff referred back to a conversation U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had with Ukraine presidential adviser Andriy Yermak. Sondland said he didn't think aid to Ukraine would be released until Ukraine moved forward with an announcement of investigations. 

In another example, former top National Security Council official Tim Morrison witnessed a conversation between Sondland and Yermak and reported back to Bolton. Bolton, Schiff noted, told Morrison to talk White House lawyers.

"You know, if you keep getting told you gotta go talk to the lawyers, there's a problem. If things are perfect, you don't get told go talk to the lawyers time and time again," Schiff said, pointing out that Morrison did indeed speak to administration lawyers.

"That record exists within the White House. Would you like me to read you that record? I'd be happy to read you that record. It's there for your asking," Schiff said. "Of course, the president has refused to provide that record. Precisely why did Ambassador Bolton direct Morrison ... to talk to the lawyers? Would you like Ambassador Bolton to tell you why he said that? He'd be happy to tell you why he said that, he's there for your asking."

When Schiff made these comments, Schumer stared pointedly at McConnell, smiling. McConnell stared straight ahead and did not acknowledge Schumer.

There was also widespread muttering on the Republican side when Schiff raised his voice during his argument, with some senators shaking their heads and smiling. — Grace Segers and Kathryn Watson


Schiff says Wednesday's session will last roughly two and a half more hours

When the Senate reconvened at 7:20 p.m., Schiff told the chamber that he expected the arguments for the day to take two to two and a half more hours, indicating an end time of around 10 p.m. He said that he and Representative Zoe Lofgren would be giving presentations.

By Grace Segers

Protester disrupts Jeffries' presentation

A protester burst into the Senate chamber and began shouting while Congressman Hakeem Jeffries delivered his presentation for the House impeachment managers — the first demonstrator of the president's impeachment trial.

The protester could be heard shouting about Jesus Christ before he was yanked away by security.

Roberts banged his gavel numerous times as murmurs spread throughout the chamber.

"The Senate will be in order," he said. "The sergeant at arms will restore order in the gallery." 

Jeffries stopped speaking during the screams and resumed his arguments after the protester was removed. — Grace Segers and Melissa Quinn


Impeachment manager questions whether restless senators need a break

The mood in the Senate chamber is, in a word, antsy.

As senators milled about and many of them left the room, impeachment manager Jason Crow paused his presentation to ask Roberts if the senators needed a 15 minute break.

McConnell stood and said that the Senate would take a half hour break at 6:30 p.m. for dinner. Crow resumed speaking, but as he did, several more senators left the room.

By Grace Segers

Tom Cotton orders glass of milk to his Senate desk

In one of the trial's more unusual developments, Republican Senator Tom Cotton requested a glass of milk to drink at his desk. 

Under an obscure quirk in Senate tradition, senators are only permitted to drink water or milk in the chamber, and senators have understandably opted to request the former. However, on Wednesday afternoon, a Senate page delivered a glass of milk to Cotton, who appeared to be chewing a crunchy snack.

Cotton eventually received a second glass and grabbed a piece of Hershey's chocolate from his desk to go with it.

Republican Senator Richard Burr, who sits across from Cotton, joined his colleague in requesting a glass. 

After news of Cotton's milk order circulated, an aide to Senator Ted Cruz told CBS News the Texas lawmaker enjoyed a glass of his own around midnight last night, which apparently went unnoticed by observers in the gallery. — Grace Segers and Julia Boccagno


Garcia details Giuliani's involvement in Ukraine policy

Impeachment manager Sylvia Garcia picked up where Nadler left off, detailing Rudy Giuliani's involvement in developing Ukraine policy.

Garcia used clips from congressional testimony in November from former National Security Council official Fiona Hill and U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland. The two testified that the president had instructed certain officials to work with Giuliani, his personal lawyer, in pressuring Ukraine. Giuliani helped spread smears about the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

By Grace Segers

Nadler resumes opening statements, detailing campaign against Yovanovitch

Before many senators had returned to the chamber, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler resumed the clock on opening arguments. Nadler said he would tell the story of the efforts to pressure Ukraine by the president and his allies.

Nadler said Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani undertook two missions — to push for investigations into the Bidens and to undermine the intelligence community's assessment that Russia was responsible for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Giuliani first worked to remove one obstacle to those goals: then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch

Nadler used video clips of Yovanovitch's congressional testimony in November to recount how Yovanovitch learned about concerns Trump officials had about her. She was pulled from her post abruptly in May 2019, having been told to catch the first plane home due to security concerns. Later, the world would learn Yovanovitch was the "victim of a smear campaign" pushed by Giuliani and spread by the president, Nadler said. 

By Kathryn Watson

Schumer: Witness trade with Republicans "off the table"

During the break, Schumer rebuffed the possibility of Democrats agreeing to testimony from Joe or Hunter Biden in exchange for testimony from Bolton or other White House officials.

"I think that's off the table," the New York Democrat told reporters. "Republicans have the right to bring in any witness they want. They haven't wanted to. That trade is not on the table."

Schumer has been leading the push among Democrats for four current and former White House officials to testify during the impeachment trial, while some Republicans want Hunter Biden to appear. The Washington Post reported Tuesday some lawmakers and aides are privately mulling a deal that would lead to additional testimony. 

By Melissa Quinn

Jay Sekulow reacts to Schiff's opening argument

Jay Sekulow, one of Mr. Trump's lead attorneys, urged House Democrats to move forward with their case without additional witnesses and documents during the break in proceedings.

"Unless he's making it up, it seems like he's got a lot of information," Sekulow told reporters of Schiff. "So proceed with your case."

Sekulow said there were many charges included in Schiff's presentation the president's legal team intends to rebut, such as allegations of a quid pro quo that are absent from the two articles of impeachment. He added that the length of Schiff's presentation, which clocked in at more than two hours, indicates House Democrats have plenty of information at their disposal.

"I mean, the more they do these two-and-a-half-hour events at a time, it undercuts their entire argument," Sekulow told reporters following Schiff's presentation. "But you know what, that's going to be ultimately for the United States Senate to decide."

Sekulow would not provide details on the arguments he and the other members of Mr. Trump's legal team will present, but said they plan to "challenge aggressively" the case put forth by House Democrats and make their own affirmative case.

By Melissa Quinn

Reince Priebus: "None of the evidence presented is compelling"

Reince Priebus, Mr. Trump's first White House chief of staff, joined a CBS News Special Report to offer his perspective on the trial. 

He downplayed the strength of the House's case, arguing the lower chamber rushed the investigation and should have taken the administration to court to obtain testimony and documents.

Asked why Republicans oppose calling more witnesses if they could in fact exonerate the president, Priebus suggested it wouldn't be worth the effort.

"This is so weak that there is no reason to call all these witnesses and to push back," he said.

By Stefan Becket

McConnell calls brief recess after Schiff concludes remarks

McConnell called for a brief recess until 3:50 p.m., after which the House managers will continue opening arguments. 

Schiff spoke for more than two hours, and many senators, particularly Republicans, ducked out to the cloakroom for a while. House Democrats still have about 21.5 hours on the clock, if they wish to use them all.

By Kathryn Watson

Trump tweets: "NO PRESSURE"

Mr. Trump responded to Schiff's argument that the Ukrainian president felt pressured to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in September that he did not feel pressure from Mr. Trump to investigate the Bidens during the two leaders' July 25 phone call, but Democrats argue Zelensky didn't want to jeopardize future U.S. military assistance by upsetting Mr. Trump.

By Grace Segers

Schiff: Trump's arguments "completely without merit"


Schiff details structure for House managers' opening arguments

Schiff provided a roadmap for the presentation House impeachment managers will make as they lay out their case for why Mr. Trump should be convicted on the two articles of impeachment.

First, senators will hear the "details of the president's corrupt scheme in narrative form," Schiff said, with witness testimony and documents collected by House Democrats during their investigation plotting the timeline of Mr. Trump's efforts.

Next, the House managers will discuss the "constitutional framework of impeachment as it was envisioned by the founders," Schiff said.

The impeachment managers will then "analyze how the facts of the president's misconduct and cover up lead to the conclusion that the president undertook the sort of corrupt course of conduct that impeachment was intended to remedy."

"If this conduct is not impeachable, then nothing is," Schiff said.

By Melissa Quinn

Subdued senators settle in for Schiff's presentation

The mood in the Senate chamber was subdued as the impeachment trial resumed. Senators were more energized than they were when they last met at 2 a.m., but several were spotted rubbing their eyes and yawning behind their hands.
Senators did not chat much as Schiff began his argument. Senator Joni Ernst took out some gum and handed pieces to Martha McSally and Tom Cotton on either side of her. Senator Ben Cardin leaned his forehead in his left hand as he took notes.
Republicans reacted subtly to Schiff's opening statement. Senator Roger Wicker smiled and shook his head when Schiff said Mr. Trump acted "corruptly." Senator Lindsey Graham shook his head when Schiff brought up Mr. Trump asking Russia to obtain Hillary Clinton's emails in 2016. Graham also raised his eyebrows when Schiff mentioned former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and how poorly she was treated.

By Grace Segers

Senate convenes for 2nd day of impeachment trial

Chief Justice John Roberts reconvened the Senate on Wednesday afternoon as a court of impeachment for the second day of Mr. Trump's trial.

The proceedings enter their next phase, as House managers will have 24 hours over three days to present their case for why Mr. Trump should be convicted on the two articles of impeachment. Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, kicked off the House's opening arguments by invoking Alexander Hamilton and the constitutional basis for impeachment.

A quote by Alexander Hamilton displayed by Adam Schiff during President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. Senate TV

"I recognize there will be times during the trial that you may long to return to the business of the Senate," Schiff said. "The American people look forward to the same. But not before you decide what kind of democracy that you believe we ought to be."

He said the founders intended for the impeachment process to serve as a last resort against dangerous overreach by the executive, and implored senators to demand testimony from witnesses who refused to participate in the House inquiry.

Speaking to reporters and flanked by other managers just before taking the floor, Schiff threw cold water on the possibility of allowing Joe or Hunter Biden to testify in exchange for testimony from John Bolton and others. 

"This isn't like some fantasy football trade, as I said yesterday," Schiff said, adding that "trials aren't trades for witnesses."

He said senators will be presented with the "factual chronology" of the Ukraine scandal. Schiff hinted that chronology will be detailed and extensive, as House managers "cannot assume" senators were able to watch all of the House's proceedings. 

"We believe we will make an overwhelming case for the president's conviction on both article one and article two," Schiff said. — Melissa Quinn and Kathryn Watson


Trump team declines to file motion to dismiss impeachment articles

The president's legal team did not file a motion to dismiss the articles of impeachment before opening arguments. The president has expressed support for dismissing the case in the past, but he has also said he wants to secure acquittal on the merits.

Asked why they didn't file a motion to dismiss the charges outright, Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow told reporters they're prepared to see the process through.

"Because we're prepared to proceed to acquittal. We want to try to win," Sekulow said.

Sekulow would not divulge whether he's had conversations with the president since the trial began.

By Kathryn Watson

Graham: Democrats trying to "destroy the institution of the presidency"

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Steve Daines and Mike Braun held a press conference shortly before the second day of the trial resumed.

Graham is one of the president's closest allies and most vocal supporters in the Senate. He condemned the House impeachment managers, saying they were seeking to "destroy" the presidency.

"What the House managers were proposing yesterday is basically to destroy the institution of the presidency as we know it," Graham said.

Graham concluded that if the impeachment managers were not going to include the courts in their process, then "God help us all." He also responded to Mr. Trump's comments that he might be willing to appear before the Senate.

"If I were the president, I wouldn't cooperate with these guys at all," Graham said, his voice rising. "I wouldn't give them the time of day. They're on a crusade to destroy this man."

By Grace Segers

GOP senators differ on whether Trump should attend trial

Ahead of the second day of the trial, Republican senators responded to Mr. Trump's earlier comment that he would "love to go" to his trial and "stare at their corrupt faces." The president is returning from a trip to Davos, Switzerland, where he made the remark Wednesday morning.

"I would encourage him to conduct his other business rather than be distracted by this," Senator John Cornyn told reporters.

However, Senator Rand Paul said Mr. Trump was "welcome" to participate in the trial.

"He's welcome anytime. I've got a ticket for him. In fact, I'll probably send a ticket over to the White House today for you," Paul said. — Alan He


What comes next in the impeachment trial

Democrats to make case for Trump's removal on day 2 of trial 11:16

The Senate will reconvene at 1 p.m. to resume the impeachment trial. The rules adopted by senators early this morning spell out what comes next, starting with opening arguments. 

The House managers will go first. They'll have a total of 24 hours spread over the next three days to present their case against the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and urge senators to vote to remove him from office. Evidence collected in the House's impeachment inquiry will be admitted automatically unless the president's legal team objects.

The president's legal team will then get the same amount of time — 24 hours over three days — to present their defense. Assuming the House managers use their allotted time, Mr. Trump's lawyers would begin presenting their case on Saturday. (Senate impeachment rules give senators Sundays off.)

The impeachment managers are led by Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairmen of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, respectively. Schiff took the lead arguing for Democratic motions demanding witnesses on the first day of proceedings.

The president's defense team is spearheaded by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, Mr. Trump's private attorney.

After both sides present their opening arguments, senators will have 16 hours to submit written questions to either side before considering whether to call new witnesses and seek more documents. Four Republicans would need to join Democrats to approve motions for witnesses. A handful of GOP senators have indicated a willingness to hear additional testimony, and White House officials told CBS News last week that they expect some witnesses to be called.

By Stefan Becket

Schumer says Trump's trial begins with a "cloud hanging over it"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters in a news conference that the Senate trial begins with a "cloud hanging over it." The top Senate Democrat lamented the lack of documents and witnesses in the trial and accused McConnell of covering for the president. 

"It's clear that the American people overwhelmingly support a fair trial and overwhelmingly support witnesses and documents. So it was a dark day, and a dark night, for the Senate," Schumer said. "As a consequence, the impeachment trial of President Trump begins with a cloud hanging over it." 

Schumer said McConnell refused to agree to push votes on amendments on Wednesday, blaming him for pushing the first day of proceedings into the early morning.

He also chastised the president's lawyers for misleading characterizations. White House counsel Pat Cipollone, for instance, said Republicans weren't allowed to participate in depositions during the House's investigation, when in fact dozens of GOP members from the relevant committees were allowed inside. 

"The president is always loose with the truth, and it seems his lawyers are the same way," Schumer said. The White House defense were unprepared, confused and totally unconvincing. White House counsel resorted to the kind of histrionics you see on Fox News evening broadcasts, rather than any sober-minded argument that could persuade thoughtful senators."

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said it's clear the Senate is "on a partisan, forced march towards a predetermined outcome."

By Kathryn Watson

Trump says he wants Bolton, Pompeo interviewed at Senate trial, but testimony raises national security concerns

Mr. Trump told reporters during a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that he would prefer to have former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney interviewed at the Senate's impeachment trial. But he said their testimony would raise national security concerns.

"He knows some of my thoughts, he knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it's not very positive, and I have to deal on behalf of country," Mr. Trump said of Bolton. "It's going to be very hard. It's going to make the job very hard."

The president said he would prefer to "go the long way" with a trial, but added lengthy proceedings would be harmful to the country. When asked if he would like to attend the Senate trial, Mr. Trump said he would "love to go" and "stare at their corrupt faces."

Mr. Trump noted, however, that when it comes to a decision on whether witnesses should be called to testify during the impeachment trial, he would leave that up to the Senate.

"The Senate is going to have to answer it," he told CBS News' Paula Reid. 

The president said he watched "glimpses" of the marathon proceedings in the Senate on Tuesday and accused Democrats of "wasting time in Washington."

He added that his dealings with Ukraine do not constitute impeachable offenses.

"If that were impeachable, Lyndon Johnson would've had to leave office in his first day. Kennedy would've had to leave office his first day," Mr. Trump said.

By Melissa Quinn

Trump says trial "going great"

President Trump told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday he thinks the impeachment trial back home is "going great."

He said his legal team is "doing a very good job, we have a great case."

Mr. Trump is likely to comment much more extensively at a news conference before he flies back to Washington from Davos Wednesday.

By Brian Dakss

Day 1: Session 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.

By Brian Dakss

Senate finally passes McConnell's proposed organizing resolution

After more than 12 hours of debate, the Senate approved the organizing resolution from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, without any of the 11 amendments proposed by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The vote was along party lines, 53-47.

By Brian Dakss

Roberts admonishes impeachment managers, White House lawyers

“Bad faith” accusations set the stage for partisan impeachment battle 04:15

After a particularly impassioned argument between Representative Jerry Nadler and the White House legal team, Chief Justice 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 has 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."

By Brian Dakss
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