U.S. Senate Adopts Rules For Trump’s Impeachment Trial After Long Debate On First Day

The United States Senate early Wednesday adopted ground rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump after nearly 13 hours of fiery debate on the first day.

The Senate voted to block attempts by Democrats to subpoena documents and witnesses for the trial.

The rules proposed by Senate Majority Leader and Republican, Mitch McConnell passed in a party-line vote, 53-47.

Under the rules agreed on the first day of proceedings that concluded close to 2am local time (8am Nigerian time) on Wednesday, each side will be given up to 24 hours to lay out their case in opening arguments, over three days.

Senators act as “impartial jurors” in the trial presided over by the U.S. Chief Justice, John Roberts. House Democrats known as “impeachment managers” act as the prosecution, while Trump’s legal team acts as the defence.

United States Senate during Trump’s impeachment trial (Photo credit: CNN)

The House of Representatives had on December 19, 2019, impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of congress.

Trump was alleged to have blocked the payment of a congressionally mandated $400 million military aid package to obtain quid pro quo cooperation from, Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky.

He was said to have pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter over Hunter’s involvement with the Ukrainian natural-gas company, Burisma Holdings.

The President was also alleged to have obstructed congress after refusing to allow White House staff testify at the impeachment hearings last year.

He is only the third President to face an impeachment trial in the history of the country.

Trump would be removed from office if convicted in the Senate but would stay in office if acquitted.

The trial will resume by 1pm local time (7pm Nigerian time) on Wednesday with arguments by the prosecution, to be followed by the defence and questions.

Republicans currently hold 53 seats in the upper legislative chamber. The Democratic caucus controls 47.

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