Trump impeachment: GOP-led Senate rejects amendments, approves rules of trial
After a marathon debate, the GOP-led Senate approved the rules of impeachment.
In a marathon session that began at 1 p.m. Tuesday and lasted nearly 13 hours into the early morning, the Republican-led Senate rejected all 11 Democratic-proposed amendments en route to approving the rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
The only changes to the rules proposed Monday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came earlier Tuesday when Republicans reversed their original call for arguments to take place over two days, and instead agreed that arguments would take place over a three-day period. McConnell also agreed to have evidence from the House inquiry automatically admitted as evidence in the Senate trial.
The rules were approved by a party-line vote, 53-47, after more than 12 hours of debate that left many Senate members exhausted by the time the Senate was adjourned shortly before 2 a.m.
Here is how the day unfolded:
1:55 a.m. Final amendments fail and vote on rules passes
Following the rejection of three additional amendments regarding the trail's timing and procedures, the Senate approved the rules of impeachment as put forth by Sen. McConnell.
The vote passed along party lines 53-47. The Senate then adjourned after nearly 13 hours.
1:19 a.m. 8th amendment to subpoena John Bolton fails following clash
The eighth amendment of the evening, on the question of whether to subpoena former National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify in the impeachment trial, failed along party lines, 53-47.
The vote followed a clash between impeachment manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
“Ambassador Bolton was appointed by President Trump and has stated his willingness to testify in this trial," Nadler said. "The question is whether the Senate will be complicit in the president's crimes by covering them up.”
Cipollone, in response, blasted Nadler's characterization, saying, "Mr. Nadler, you owe an apology to the president of the United States and his family, you owe an apology to the Senate, but most of all, you owe an apology to the American people.”
Chief Justice John Roberts, overseeing the trial, admonished both sides for the rhetoric.
The Senate is now debating additional amendments to the rules related to the trail's timing and procedures.
12:02 a.m. 7th amendment fails, on to the 8th amendment involving John Bolton
The seventh amendment of the evening, to "prevent the selective admission of evidence and to provide for appropriate handling of classified and confidential materials," again failed along party lines, 53-47.
The Senate will now take up the question of whether to subpoena former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who Democrats believe could further tie President Trump to the Ukraine affair.
11:21 p.m. 6th amendment fails, but debate continues
Chuck Schumer's sixth amendment, to subpoena testimony from Mick Mulvaney adviser Robert Blair and OMB official Michael Duffey, failed -- again along party lines.
And after a brief, five-minute break it was on to the seventh amendment of the evening to "prevent the selective admission of evidence and to provide for appropriate handling of classified and confidential materials."
The amendment would require "that if, during the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, any party seeks to admit evidence that has not been submitted as part of the record of the House of Representatives and that was subject to a duly authorized subpoena, that party shall also provide the opposing party all other documents responsive to that subpoena."
10:33 p.m. 5th amendment fails, onto the 6th
The fifth amendment proposed by Democrats -- to subpoena Department of Defense documents -- has failed along party lines, 53-47, and it is on to the sixth amendment.
Schumer's sixth amendment would subpoena testimony of Robert Blair, senior adviser to Mick Mulvaney, and Michael Duffey, a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget. Debate on the sixth amendment is starting now.
A brief "quorum call" was held earlier in which Sen. McConnell asked Sen. Schumer to dispense with the debate and "stack" the remaining amendment votes we have.
But Schumer responded that he believes each of the remaining votes are extremely important to the country and the Senate will take each of these votes. Schumer offered to put off the remaining votes until Wednesday, but McConnell did not agree to it.
9:53 p.m. Debate begins on 5th amendment
After a pause, a debate began on Schumer's fifth amendment to subpoena Department of Defense documents. Democratic Rep. Jason Crow kicked off talk and will reserve some of their one hour to respond to the White House argument on this amendment.
9:29 p.m. Schumer's 4th amendment fails
Schumer's 4th amendment -- to compel testimony from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney -- failed, in a 53-47 vote along party lines.
Just prior, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., had argued in favor of the amendment.
"President Trump’s total obstruction makes Richard Nixon look like a choir boy," he said, after listing the Nixon aides who cooperated with Congress during Watergate.
"Mr. Mulvaney was at the center of every stage of the president's substantial pressure campaign against Ukraine," Jeffries said. "Based on the extensive evidence that House did obtain, it is clear that Mulvaney was crucial in planning the scheme, executing its implementation and carrying out the coverup."
He said a fair trial "demands" that Mulvaney testify.
9:23 p.m. 'Can we please start?'
Add White House counsel Pat Cipollone to the name of those hoping for Tuesday night's proceedings to end.
Cipollone pleaded with senators to start the trial, hitting Democrats on the multiple amendments they are continuing to debate.
"If we keep going like this it will be next week," Cipollone said, prompting laughs from the Republican senators, including McConnell, who smirked through Cipollone’s remarks.
"We’re here to have a trial," he said.
8:03 p.m. White House comments on proceedings, motion to dismiss
Eric Ueland, the White House Legislative Affairs director, who has been in the chamber for the trial, left the door open to the Trump team putting forward a motion to dismiss as early as Wednesday.
"Such motions could be filed as late as 9 a.m. tomorrow morning," he told ABC News as he stepped out of the chamber.
it is unclear when such a motion would get a vote.
Ueland also said the president is being kept "constantly updated" while in Davos "and is very impressed" with his team’s performance.
"There is a very good infrastructure in place to keep the president updated -- while he's in Davos -- the ins and outs of what’s going on here on the floor," he said.
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