Trump trial opens with clash over witnessesJanuary 22, 2020 09:54
The United States Senate has started the historic impeachment trial of President Donald Trump amidst acrimonious scenes among the Senators from the ruling Republican party and the opposition Democrats over the rules of the game.
The impeachment trial began on Tuesday and comes nearly a week after the House of Representatives, where the Democrats enjoy a majority, voted to send articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate.
In a 228-193 vote, which was mainly on party lines, the House had appointed seven impeachment managers to argue Democrats' case for removing Trump from the office.
The managers - Congressmen Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow, and Sylvia Garcia - were named by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The 435-member House on December 18 charged Trump with "high crimes and misdemeanors" and impeached him for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential Democratic rival for the current president in the 2020 elections.
President Trump's lawyers submitted a trial brief Monday calling his impeachment by the House "a dangerous perversion" of the US constitution and demanding his immediate acquittal by the Senate.
On Tuesday, the Senate started the historic trial in "utter acrimony" as the debate was a technical one about the rules and procedures to govern the trial, The New York Times reported.
Trump's close-ally Mitch McConnell laid out ground rules that would block subpoenaing key witnesses or documents while each side makes its case -- potentially crippling prosecutors' arguments.
Flexing his solid 53-47 majority, the Republican Senate leader also made clear he would summarily block any Democratic attempts to change his rules. -- PTI