Politics The Senate impeachment trial simplified: What you need to know explained
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President Donald Trump's lawyers opened their impeachment trial defense on Saturday by asserting that he “did absolutely nothing wrong" when he asked Ukraine to investigate a political rival.The president's lawyers are pressing the Republican-led chamber to acquit Trump of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress.
All eyes will be on the United States Senate on Tuesday as itjust the third impeachment trial in the nation’s history, considering two articles of impeachment against .
In the historic, Capitol Hill has morphed into a ceremonial display, with solemn tradition — and a lot of scripted jargon and unfamiliar terms.
Here's the lawmakers' vernacular, simplified.
Trump shows anxiety as arguments begin in Senate impeachment trial
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Wednesday hardened his opposition to allowing former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in his Senate impeachment trial, citing national security but adding a note of apprehension: "I don't know if we left on the best of terms. "You don't like people testifying when they didn't leave on good terms," Trump said at a news conference before departing from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “And that was due to me, not him.
The House managers will essentially be the "prosecutors" during the Senate trial. They will argue for Trump’s removal from office.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named the
The managers are Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.; Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.; Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.; and Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas.
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House managers will deliver a 28,578-page trial record to the Senate.Lead manager House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks during the third day of the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump in this still image from video in the U.S. Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 23.
'Sergeant at Arms'
The Sergeant at Arms will be seen throughout the proceedings. As the current Sergeant at Arms, Michael Stenger will enforce the Senate's rules of decorum and tradition. He walked with the House managers on Thursday as they formally delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
He also escorted Chief Justice John Roberts — who will act as presiding officer — to the Senate.
He will likely be heard: 'Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All people are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment" at the start of each session.
The "walk" is a Senate impeachment trial tradition, when after theare signed by the House Speaker, they are hand delivered to the Senate floor by the House managers.
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The managers completed the "walk" from the House to the Senate chamber on Wednesday, led by the House Clerk and the Senate Sergeant at Arms.
Articles of Impeachment 'exhibited'
Schiff, on behalf of the House managers, "exhibited" the articles of impeachment on the Senate floor on Thursday. Or, in layman's terms, he read the two allegations aloud: Article One, which alleges abuse of power, and Article Two, which charges obstruction of Congress.
The presiding officer in this impeachment trial is, as spelled out in the Constitution, the Chief Justice of the United States, or in this case, Roberts.
The presiding officer sits in place of the vice president — currently Mike Pence — to avoid any conflict of interest.
The jurors for impeachment trials are the 100 members of the U.S. Senate. Senators take an oath, administered by the Chief Justice, to be "impartial," meaning they will put partisanship aside and consider only the facts at hand. In Trump's case, only 99 senators took the oath — as Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe wasn't present on Thursday.
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With the adoption of the ground rules for the impeachment trial, the Senate prepared to plunge forward with oral arguments, questions from senators and a consequential vote.U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in the final senator, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) as the Chief Justice presides over the start of the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump in this frame grab from video shot in the U.S. Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 21.
After the senators take this oath, they walk over to the "well" of the Senate — jargon for the area in front of the dais — to sign the "oath book."
The Senate Parliamentarian is essentially the main adviser to the Chief Justice on how to carry out the rules and traditions of the trial. Elizabeth MacDonough will fill this role, and during the trial will sit on the Senate dais near Roberts so she can quietly confer with him.
'Writ of Summons'
As an impeachment trial begins, the Senate delivers a "writ of summons" to the president that outlines the articles — or charges — against him. The summons sets a deadline for the president to respond to the charges — which for President Trump is Saturday by 6 p.m.
There are several rules of decorum that are worth noting.
When the Chief Justice arrives on the Senate floor each day, the senators are expected to "silently rise" and remain standing until he takes his seat on the dais. They must do the same when he leaves the chamber.
Senators worry that asking for new impeachment trial witnesses could create lengthy executive privilege debate
Sen. Ted Cruz said calling for any additional witnesses or documents would “substantially prolong” the Senate impeachment trial.Senate Democrats have argued they need testimony from witnesses and additional documents that were not provided during the impeachment inquiry because of the Trump administration's failure to comply with congressional issued subpoenas.
As the Sergeant at Arms announces senators are "to keep silent on pain of imprisonment …," fear not, there is no threat of being thrown into the "Capitol dungeon." Instead, Roberts will order any disruptive senators to keep quiet or have the Sergeant at Arms escort the member out of the chamber.
Senators are not only restricted from speaking in the chamber when the trial is underway, they also are not allowed to have any reading material on them that's not related to the impeachment trial — books and magazines, for example, are prohibited.
Cell phones are also not allowed on the Senate floor during the proceedings.
That being said, "Senate pages," or high-school students who act as messengers, will deliver messages from inside and outside the chamber.
The impeachment trial — likely to take up most of next week — will rock more than the White House and Capitol Hill. It has also, forcing the four senators in the race to overhaul their campaign schedules, even as the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary get closer.
ABC News' Benjamin Siegel, Anne Flaherty and Michelle Stoddart contributed to this report.
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WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s motorcade was winding through Jerusalem on Wednesday, en route to a state dinner hosted by the president of Israel, when she placed perhaps the most important call of her day — to Representative Adam B. Schiff, the man leading the charge to remove President Trump from office. On the other end of the line, 5,900 miles away, Mr. Schiff, the top impeachment manager, was preparing to stride into the Senate chamber to begin arguing the House’s case, and the speaker wanted to compare notes before she slipped into a gathering of world leaders.Ms. Pelosi’s role in the impeachment of Mr.
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