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Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump officially begins

In a press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the report the Government Accounting office released proves the need for documents and witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 11:43 AM
Updated: Jan 17, 2020 9:58 AM


The third Senate impeachment trial of a US president in history convened on Thursday with the reading of the impeachment articles against President Donald Trump and the swearing in of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the senators who will decide whether Trump should be removed from office.

The Senate conducted its ceremonial functions of the impeachment trial on Thursday before the actual arguments will get underway next Tuesday. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and the lead impeachment manager, read the articles aloud in the chamber while senators looked on from their desks.

LIVE UPDATES: The latest on President Trump's impeachment

Roberts was sworn in shortly several hours later. After Roberts swore in the senators, each present member of the chamber came forward and signed the oath book on the floor of the Senate.

The outcome of the trial is all but determined, as the two-thirds vote required to remove the President would need 20 Republican senators to break ranks. But that doesn't mean the trial itself won't have twists and turns — and potentially some surprises — as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell navigates the demands of his Senate conference, pressures from Democrats and the whims of Trump and his Twitter account.

Already this week, indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas has upended the impeachment conversation by providing the House Intelligence Committee with a trove of evidence about his work with Giuliani's efforts to oust former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch last spring and then pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

And the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog, said Thursday that the Trump administration violated the law when it withheld Ukraine security aid that Congress has appropriated.

That evidence is likely to be incorporated into the House Democratic case against the President, which they will begin presenting next Tuesday when the substance of the trial gets underway. Democrats charge that Trump withheld the security aid and a White House meeting from Ukraine while pushing for an investigation into the Bidens.

On Thursday, the Senate dispensed with the ceremonial functions of the impeachment trial.

The House impeachment managers began the proceedings by reading aloud the two articles of impeachment on the floor of the Senate. It was the second time they took the articles from the House to the Senate — the managers took the same walk on Wednesday to notify the Senate of the articles, in an odd bit of ceremonial flair that comes with an impeachment trial of the President.

The Senate officially issued a summons to the President after senators were sworn in to notify him of the trial, and McConnell set up a series of deadlines for trial briefs to be filed by both the House impeachment managers and the President's legal team.

The trial is set to resume on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET, McConnell said, at which point the Senate is likely to take up a resolution setting the rules of the trial. Then arguments will get underway.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the Parnas allegations and the GAO report 'strengthen our push' for witnesses and documents in the trial. He added that 'no witnesses would be a dramatic break with precedent.'

During his news conference, Schumer said he expects votes on Tuesday to try to force Republicans to take a position on witnesses. But he said he wouldn't know for sure until he sees McConnell's organizing resolution.

Asked if he would be in communication with House impeachment managers and Pelosi as they craft their strategy, Schumer acknowledged that he would confer with them but argued it was different from McConnell taking cues from Trump.

'We are taking our cues from nobody,' Schumer said.

One senator, Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe, was not present Thursday and not sworn in. Inhofe spokeswoman Leacy Burke said he was in Oklahoma with a family member facing a medical issue, and planned to return to Washington to be sworn in for the trial on Tuesday.

The trial is only beginning this week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi withheld the formal sending of the articles for four weeks while Democrats pushed for Republicans to agree to calling witnesses and obtaining new documents for the trial.

Pelosi said at her weekly press conference Thursday that Senate Republicans are 'afraid of the truth,' when asked what her response is to Senate Republicans who say they shouldn't have to consider new evidence like the Parnas material because it wasn't included in the House investigation.

'They don't want to see documents, they don't want to hear from eyewitnesses,' Pelosi said. 'They want to ignore anything new that comes up.'

McConnell has rejected the Democratic demands, saying the question of witnesses should be taken up after the House and the President's legal team make their opening arguments. Republicans are expected to pass the rules to put off the question of witnesses without Democratic votes.

McConnell on Thursday criticized Pelosi on the Senate floor for distributing souvenir pens while signing the impeachment articles on Wednesday.

'Nothing says seriousness and sobriety like handing out souvenirs, as though this were a happy bill-signing instead of the gravest process in our Constitution,' he said.

This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97049

Reported Deaths: 2921
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7151160
DeSoto565061
Harrison388874
Jackson352770
Madison331489
Rankin331179
Lee276470
Forrest250976
Jones250479
Washington225977
Lafayette219840
Lauderdale2065125
Bolivar184966
Oktibbeha180252
Lamar172836
Lowndes158158
Neshoba1581104
Panola151031
Sunflower148046
Leflore141781
Warren140950
Pontotoc128216
Pike124251
Monroe123969
Copiah119333
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall111517
Lincoln111453
Holmes110059
Grenada109536
Yazoo106230
Simpson104846
Tate101138
Union99924
Leake96238
Adams94337
Wayne90821
Pearl River89653
Marion86935
Prentiss86517
Itawamba83521
Alcorn82711
Covington82723
George78313
Tallahatchie77621
Newton77324
Winston74219
Tishomingo69438
Chickasaw68524
Tippah67317
Attala67125
Clarke60346
Walthall60226
Clay59818
Hancock59022
Jasper57815
Noxubee55516
Smith53815
Calhoun52412
Tunica49915
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46520
Yalobusha43714
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38617
Quitman3805
Humphreys37815
Stone37612
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33510
Carroll32112
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2293
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136549

Reported Deaths: 2378
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19833350
Mobile13471292
Montgomery8865184
Tuscaloosa8744118
Madison797878
Shelby604349
Lee594560
Baldwin558850
Marshall396743
Calhoun354844
Etowah354045
Morgan332728
Houston293521
Elmore269148
DeKalb243521
St. Clair234036
Walker233084
Talladega217729
Limestone213520
Cullman191120
Dallas179326
Franklin179029
Autauga178525
Russell17653
Lauderdale174033
Colbert167526
Blount161815
Escambia161424
Chilton159330
Jackson158911
Covington140327
Dale139944
Coffee13656
Pike120510
Chambers117242
Tallapoosa116685
Clarke110416
Marion97129
Butler91439
Barbour8867
Winston74512
Marengo72620
Pickens66814
Randolph66013
Bibb65710
Lowndes65727
Hale64928
Geneva6384
Lawrence62823
Cherokee61413
Bullock60714
Clay5928
Monroe5908
Washington56113
Crenshaw54232
Perry5426
Conecuh53711
Wilcox53211
Henry5085
Macon48318
Fayette4678
Sumter43819
Cleburne3895
Lamar3772
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
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