Day 3 of Trump Senate Impeachment Trial

Rebekah Sager
January 23, 2020 - 2:15 pm

LISTEN NOW as day three of the Trump Senate impeachment trial begins.

The Senate impeachment trial for President Donald Trump continues for the third day. This day will consist of House Managers making opening statements for the second day in a row.

On Wednesday, the first day of opening statements lasted several hours.

This whole process began in the Senate on Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday, House Managers and the President's legal team debated the impeachment rules.

Tuesday morning saw Democrats decry the rules proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for compressed arguments and a speedy trial - before the impeachment trial has even begun.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dropped a bombshell before the trial, dictating that the number of days for opening arguments has been increased to three, not two days.

House evidence will be included in the record throughout this whole trial.

It's turned into another partisan fight this morning as proceedings begin to unfold at the Capitol.

They say McConnell's plan could force midnight sessions that would keep most Americans in the dark and create a sham proceeding.

Speaking to reporters before his speech to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, President Trump again said the whole thing was a hoax, and he said he was sure it would "work out fine."

As the impeachment trial of President Trump continues, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First off, in order for Trump to be impeached or convicted, 20 Republicans Senators would need to align themselves with Democrats and vote to remove the president.


Trump faces two charges -- one that he abused his presidential power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, using military aid to the country as leverage; and obstructing Congress’ ensuing probe.

President Trump calls the entire impeachment process a “hoax," and refers to his call with the president of Ukraine as "perfect."


Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn in to preside over the trial, then immediately administered the oath to the full Senate to ensure “impartial justice” as jurors for only the third such proceeding in American history.


There are 26 impeachment rules in place. They were used in 1999 for Bill Clinton’s trial and were used for a number of federal judges who’ve been impeached.

Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, circulated ground rules for a rapid trial. McConnell’s organizing resolution offers each side 24 hours to make its opening arguments, starting on Wednesday but compressed into two session days. 

The proceedings will formally begin with a debate over the McConnell resolution. The impeachment managers and the president’s lawyers will have an opportunity to debate the proposed rules, while House Democrats are expected to offer changes to the measure that would allow the Senate to call several witnesses desired by Democrats. 


The trial starts with opening arguments. These are like to last about six days.

After the House managers and Trump’s attorneys argue their cases, the senators will be allowed 16 hours to question the opposing sides.

After that, both sides will debate for a maximum of four hours on whether to consider subpoenaing witnesses or documents, followed by a vote. If a majority of senators agree, then there will probably be motions from both sides to call various witnesses, with subsequent votes on issuing subpoenas.


For about three days, there will be questioning. Senators will have an opportunity to question lawyers by submitting questions to the chief justice.


It’s not decided yet whether there will be witnesses at the trial, and whether they will testify publically or behind closed doors.

Senate aides and GOP lawyers will weigh contingency plans in case Democrats are successful in forcing witnesses to testify.

Democrats could also push for more than one vote on witnesses and documents.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is leading an effort among some Republicans, including Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, to consider Senate witnesses. She told reporters she was satisfied the rules will allow votes on that.

The president has suggested recently that he would be open to a quick vote to simply dismiss the charges, but sufficient Republican support is lacking for that. Still, an eventual vote to acquit Trump is considered highly likely.

The president's team expects acquittal with a Senate trial lasting no more than two weeks, according to senior administration officials. That would be far shorter than the trial of President Bill Clinton, in 1999, or the first one, of President Andrew Johnson, in 1868. Both were acquitted.

Former independent counsels in the Clinton impeachment investigation Ken Starr and Robert Ray will be a part of President Trump's legal defense team. Alan Dershowitz, who has voted for Democrats in the past but frequently defends the president on Fox News, will also be a part of the team. 


After it’s all said and done, witnesses or no, the Senate will take closing arguments from both sides.


Each member places their remarks into the congressional record.


Only time will tell how long it will be until this happens. Stay tuned.

Associated Press and CBS News contributed to this story.

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