Donald Trump’s historic impeachment trial opened in the US Senate on Thursday, as lawmakers swore to be “impartial” in deciding to bind the 45th US president from office.
For just the third time in American history, the Chamber of the Senate was changed to a court of impeachment, headed by Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court, who administered the oath to the senators. When Roberts, dressed in a black robe, asked if he was sworn to deliver “fair justice” according to the US Constitution, the 99 lawmakers present were not given a unilateral answer, raised with right hands: “I do.” Earlier in the day, in a deeply symbolic moment, two articles accusing Trump of abuse of power and impeachment with congressional obstructionism were read on the Senate floor. “Listen, listen, listen, listen,” said Michael Sergeant, Senate Sergeant of Arms, “ordered the senators on the pain of imprisonment, to remain silent.”
Adam Intelliff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who will serve as the chief prosecutor for the trial, read accusing Trump of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Trump has ridiculed the impeachment process for months, and he responded by testing it once more to “bluff” it. “I think it should go very quickly,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “It’s completely biased,” he said. “I’ve got to go through a hoax, a tableau put up by the Democrats to try and win the election.” The Democratic-controlled House, voting along party lines, impeached Trump on 18 December. But Trump is widely expected to be acquitted in the Republican-majority Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required to indict and remove a president. After the swearing-in, the Senate adjourned until 1 pm (1800 GMT) on Tuesday afternoon.
Republican James Inhofe, a senator, was absent due to a family medical emergency, but said he would be sworn in “without delay” on Tuesday. Trump is accused of abusing power for the White House meeting for the country’s president in return for withdrawing military aid to Ukraine and investigating his potential presidential-election rival, Democrat Joe Biden. The Nonpartisan Government Accountability Office concluded in a report released on Thursday that the White House violated federal law by prohibiting Congress-approved funds for Ukraine. The congressional watchdog said, “Faithful implementation of the law does not allow the president to change his policy priorities that Congress has enacted.”
The second article of impeachment relates to Trump’s refusal to provide witnesses and documents to House impeachment investigators in defiance of the Congress subcontinent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has severely criticized Trump’s impeachment by the House, and Democrats have accused him of planning to oversee the “sham” trial. Top Republicans have said that they will coordinate Trump’s Senate defense with the White House. “The House Hour is over,” McConnell said. “Senate time is at hand.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump did not give the House any choice. “It’s a sad day for America,” Pelosi told reporters. “We were not given any choice.” Trump’s actions undermined national security, were violations of his oath of office and “jeopardized the integrity of our elections,” he said.
For weeks, Pelosi delayed delivering the articles as she pressured McConnell to agree with the sub-witnesses and documents but McConnell refused to commit. A Trump administration official told reporters that he expected the trial to not last more than two weeks, suggesting that McConnell used his 53-47 Republican majority to summon witnesses and take votes quickly. Can. The senators will vote on Tuesday of the initial phase of the trial before the prosecution begins to lay its case against the president next week. McConnell and colleagues privately hooded Thursday as they worked on the resolution. Democrats say they will oppose it because it makes no guarantee that witnesses will be called, or new evidence will be accepted.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested that Republicans are locking up with Trump and calling for an early termination of the lawsuit. All the senators felt that 64-year-old Roberts has a “weight of history” on his shoulders in which he is sworn in, said Democrat Schumer, who allowed his Republican colleagues to vote for fair rules. “Every one of us, Democrats and Republicans, in search of truth will have the option to start this trial or to serve according to the president’s will,” Shumer told reporters. Senator Susan Collins, a Republican, indicated that she would support a motion to call witnesses. Collins said in a statement, “While hearing the case