Senate leaders argue about process in first day of Trump’s impeachment trial


The first day of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Jan. 21 saw arguments between Senate leaders over the trial’s process.

Lauren Ratliff

President Donald Trump faced the first day of his trial before the Senate on Tuesday afternoon, which will decide whether he should be removed from office.

Trump has been charged with two articles of impeachment.

The first charge is abuse of power. This came to surface after allegedly asking Ukrainian leaders to find him information about one of his political opponents, former Vice President Joe Biden.

The second charge is obstruction of Congress for choosing not to provide documents or testify during the House impeachment inquiry.

Before the trial began, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., abruptly changed the pre-announced rules on Trump’s trial. The rule change allows each side to still have 24 total hours to present their information; however, it is now stretched out the allotted time over the course of three days, rather than the originally proposed two.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said changing the rules could result in early-morning presentations that hide evidence from the American people.

“In short, the McConnell resolution will result in a rushed trial with little evidence in the dark of night,” Schumer said.

McConnell said stretching the trial out will help the president’s cause.

“President’s lawyers will finally receive a level playing field with the House Democrats, and will finally be able to present the president’s case,” McConnell said.

Rather than senators debating, the seven House impeachment managers — serving as the prosecutors in this case — will be arguing with Trump’s defense team.

The House managers and Trump’s team argued over an amendment from the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, that would compel Trump and his staff to provide documents on Trump’s intentions with Ukraine.

Trump did not attend the first day of the trial. The president was in Davos, Switzerland to address the World Economic Forum. Rather than mention impeachment in his address to the Alpine gathering, he chose to talk about the economic successes he said the United States is experiencing.

Emma McDowell, sophomore in public relations, said she found it “difficult” to see the trial moving forward.

“It’s difficult to see the trial go anywhere if they’re just going to continue to argue about the timeframe,” McDowell said.

The trial is expected to last several weeks, and will see several Democratic senators seeking the presidency largely prevented from campaigning in Iowa less than two weeks ahead of the caucuses.