Trump speaks out as rules set for historic trial

The president is at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland as lawmakers on Capitol Hill debate what his trial will look like after Republican leader Mitch McConnell released his blueprint.
5:46 | 01/21/20

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Transcript for Trump speaks out as rules set for historic trial
It could very well help others. First we begin with the latest on the impeachment trial getting under way in Washington. Let's take a live look at the capitol. The scene this morning, here's how we expect to it play out. At around 12:30 the two senate leaders are going to lay out their takes on how the trial should go. Then all 100 senators will take their seats. The house impeach manager and trump's defense team will take their positions and chief justice John Roberts will gavel in the trial at 1:00. Mary Bruce starts us off. Mary, today will be consumed by a fight over the rules for the trial. Reporter: Yeah, George, before they even get to opening statements and the heart of this matter, this morning capitol hill is gearing up for a fight over the Republican rules that will govern this trial. The president's team says these rule also allow for a fair trial but Democrats say they will prevent the American people from learning the full truth and amount to a cover-up. All of this is about to play out on the senate floor in what is expected to be a contentious first day. Today on capitol hill, fierce debate over what president trump's impeachment trial will actually look like. Republican leader Mitch Mcconnell releasing his long awaited blueprint. Each side will have 24 hours over just 2 days to make their opening statements. It means senator cost have to sit for 1-hour session, part of the Republican push for a faster trial but Democrats say Republicans are trying to hide the president's misconduct in the dead of night. Then up to 16 hours of questioning from senators. After that likely next week they will vote to consider additional witnesses. Something Democrats have been demanding and even a few Republicans have supported. It's clear Mcconnell is hell-bent on making it much more difficult to get witnesses and documents and intent on rushing the trial through. We hope that four brave Republicans will resist Mcconnell's cover-up. Reporter: The democratic prosecutors and the president's lawyers have been intensely preparing. In the first glimpse at their defense strategy, trump's legal team dismisses the impeachment as a brazenly political act and urges senators to speedily reject the charges. In a 110-page brief they argue trump did nothing wrong and say Democrats have failed to show the president broke the law. There has to be criminal behavior, criminal in nature. The articles of impeachment are two noncriminal actions namely obstruction of congress and abuse of power. Reporter: Many constitutional scholars disagree. Trump's lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, himself once argued the opposite during the Clinton impeachment, that a crime isn't necessary to impeach. It certainly doesn't have to be a crime. If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president -- Reporter: Democrats say the facts are indisputable that the president invited foreign interference into the U.S. Election for his own political gain. Now, the trial will kick off this afternoon with what amounts to a procedural food fight as Democrats try to change and amend these rules but the Republican leader is confident he has enough support to press ahead with his plan. At least for the first stage. Mary, senator Mcconnell said he wants to follow the model of the Clinton impeachment trial, 21 years ago but there are significant differences between his model and the Clinton model. Reporter: Yeah, George, in the Clinton trial all of the evidence that was gathered in the house was admitted right at the beginning of the trial. That is not happening here. They will have to vote later in the middle of the trial on whether to admit evidence. And this condensed time line is something that is new. That did not happen in the Clinton trial. You didn't see these marathon back-to-back sessions. It is clear that Republicans here are now trying to speed things up. Democrats, of course, are crying foul and, George, senators on both sides are sure to be exhausted and cranky. It'll be a long fight today. As it's set to go president trump is at the world economic forum with an eye on what's going on back home. I'll be making a speech then we'll be leaving shortly but I think it's very important the other is just a hoax. It's the witch-hunt that's been going on for years and it's, frankly, disgraceful but we are look forward to being here. Reporter: Our senior white house correspondent Cecilia Vega here. He's hoping to set up split screens. This is a specific strategy. Not juice coincidence. I think we will see this a lot. The white house very much wants to show the president out there working, out there talking to world leaders, talking about the economy like his tweet overnight, it's the economy, stupid. In contrast with what you're seeing back in Washington with this impeachment which they're calling it a sham. He may end up signing a trade deal. Another split screen but you said it. This is all headed toward the state of the union. They want this wrapped up fast and they want these wins so he can tick them off. Claim victory on the 4th. He's added to his team overnight with some of his strongest house allies. That you will remember from the house proceedings, people like Jim Jordan, mark meadow, these are his allies on capitol hill but also they are surrogates who he likes to see talking a lot on Fox News. That's the other strategy in this. The president and the white house want to see these surrogates out there shaping public perception. The president is very much concerned about not just what happens in that chamber but how the public views what is happening inside that chamber. He wants this to play out on fox News to his base. We're going to see the surrogates out there hitting the press hard and also going to see the legal team performing for that audience of one. We know that very much he was involved in their choosing. That these are people who we saw on Fox News a lot. This is -- we are told this will not be boring. The president wants the fireworks today and wants them to move quickly through it. I know you and Mary will join our live coverage. I'll anchor with our team starting around 12:30 eastern right here on ABC.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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