Impeachment trial in the Senate: how to watch and what we don't know

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But the trial begins on Tuesday afternoon, when Republicans and Democrats are expected to dispute a resolution that sets the rules for the trial and soon after opening arguments.

It is possible that senators will vote in closed session to debate the issues that divide them because the impeachment rules prevent them from speaking publicly during the trial.

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The trial will begin on Tuesday, January 21, at 1 pm. ET, after which it will run six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, starting at 1pm. ET and usually ending between 5 pm or 6 pm ET, according to the office of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

But the first session of the trial on Tuesday, when they deal with the organization’s resolution, can go past 6 pm, according to advisors from each party.

How will the schedule be each day?

The Senate will enter session at noon ET on each day of the trial, and there will be time for comments from the leadership and possibly some legislative action before 12:30 pm. ET, when preparations for the trial will be made.

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We won't know exactly what the trial schedule will be until the senators pass the organization's resolution, which could happen on Tuesday. But if they follow President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial model – as McConnell said he wants to do – each side will have no more than 24 hours to open the case. After that, there would be up to 16 hours for senators to ask questions, which would be sent in writing.

If they are working five hours a day, the opening arguments will take about 10 days and the questions, three. But the two sides do not need to use their full 24 hours, which could reduce days of the opening arguments.

However, Republican Senate leaders are considering, limiting the number of days given to House managers and White House defense staff to present their opening arguments, according to four sources familiar with the matter. Your plan would give each side two 12-hour sessions to argue.

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The sources warned that things remain fluid and it is possible that the idea will end up in the court room as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell tries to balance the desire of some at his conference to hold an impulsive trial and others who want a lawsuit. quick absolution. for Trump. They also noted that it is entirely possible for one or both sides to choose to return part of the time during presentations.

Only after the initial arguments and questions are complete, McConnell wants the Senate to debate the issues of witnesses and compelling documents.

Will we see witnesses?

Republican Senator Susan Collins, who investigates facts; confused comments about Lev Parnas' new documents
Democrats do not want to wait that long to resolve the issue of witnesses and plan to force debates and early votes on the issue, pushing for amendments to the organizing resolution. Most Republicans, including key votes, such as Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, say that nor will you consider calling witnesses even after the opening arguments, then this effort by the Democrats looks set to fail, although it draws attention to their pressure for new testimonies.

Fifty-one senators must vote for witnesses; therefore, if all 47 Democrats are unified, only four Republicans would need to support him to get through. It is still an open question whether the three Republicans vote to hear witnesses, whether they can also dispute a fourth.

Will the entire trial be open to the public?

The Senate may enter a closed session at certain times, because the rules of the impeachment trial prevent senators from speaking. During the Clinton trial, some of this was done in the Old Senate Chamber at the end of the room, but this time they plan to remain on the Senate floor. We have no idea how long these closed sessions can last. But it is possible that it will happen next Tuesday and then again after the initial arguments and questions.

In fact, the reason why Senate officials are planning to place metal detectors where the press enters the chamber – something that has bothered the Capitol press corps – is because they want to ensure that no devices are left in the chamber to record sessions closed. , according to a Republican aide.

How long does the trial last?

Entirely unknown at the moment, especially with Republicans considering the condensation of the schedule. Some of Trump's supporters expect the trial to be held the moment he is scheduled to address Congress and the nation with his State of the Union address on February 4.

Bill Clinton's trial lasted about five weeks, from January 7, 1999 to February 12, 1999.

How will the evidence be handled?

All the evidence sent by the House of Representatives of the impeachment inquiry will be considered at the trial.
For any new evidence that appears to be admitted and presented during the trial, 51 senators would have to vote to approve it. But if any senator or Trump's legal team objects – Chief Justice John Roberts he could decide it or return it to the senators to vote to decide. Senators can also override the chief justice.

Most Senate Democrats appear to be unified in wanting to include any new evidence or material relevant to the president's negotiations in Ukraine that arise after the trial begins. On the other hand, many Senate Republicans have said they don't want to consider new evidence and blame the House for not conducting a full investigation before Trump's impeachment.

Who will defend or absolve the President?

home impeachment managers will act as prosecutors against Trump, and White House legal adviser Pat Cipollone will lead a team of lawyers that the president has selected to defend him and defend his acquittal, with court president Roberts presiding over the chamber.
Impeachment managers were announced by speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday and includes the president of the Intelligence Chamber, Adam Schiff, of California, as principal manager, and the six will be:
  • President of the Judiciary, Congressman Jerry Nadler, of New York
  • Chairman of the committee's Democratic representative, Hakeem Jeffries, of New York
  • Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California, who is on the Judiciary Committee and has also worked on three House impeachment inquiries
  • Representative Val Demings of Florida, who serves on the judiciary and intelligence committees
  • Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, from Texas, freshman of the Judiciary Committee
  • Representative Jason Crow, from Colorado, also a freshman MP who is a former lawyer
On the other hand, Trump's defense team, led by Cipollone, will defend your absolution. Cipollone will be accompanied by lawyer Jay Sekulow and, according to family members, Trump will add to his defense team, constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Bill Clinton's special prosecutor Ken Starr and Robert Ray, who was also part of the prosecution team for Clinton. Two other attorneys who help the team include former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump's longtime attorney Jane Raskin.

Will the Senate still conduct any legislative business?

It is possible that some legislative deals can be made between noon and 12:30 pm ET every day they are in session.

The only measure available seems ready to be voted on it is the resolution of Senator Tim Kaine's powers of war. It is a privileged motion, so that Kaine can force a vote. It is expected to "mature" legislatively next week, so that the vote is possible, but not defined.

CNN's Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.

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