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Politics McConnell makes last-minute changes to Trump impeachment trial rules

21:25  21 january  2020
21:25  21 january  2020 Source:   nbcnews.com

McConnell defends his impeachment trial rules as even-handed and fair

  McConnell defends his impeachment trial rules as even-handed and fair U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell called his proposed rules for President Trump's impeachment trial a "fair road map.""Today, we will consider and pass an organizing resolution that will structure the first phase of the trial," McConnell said Tuesday, shortly before the trial got rolling.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed a controversial provision in the rules for the impeachment trial that would have required House prosecutors and White House lawyers to make 24 hours of legal arguments in just two days and could have barred evidence gathered by the House.

Mitch McConnell et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives to the Capitol on Jan. 21, 2020.© Andrew Harrer Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives to the Capitol on Jan. 21, 2020.

The last-minute change was revealed on Tuesday as the organizing resolution for President Donald Trump's Senate trial was being read into the record on the Senate floor. The new version gives both side 24 hours to make their case over three days, instead of the two initially proposed by McConnell on Monday.

After tweaks, Trump trial format will be similar to Clinton

  After tweaks, Trump trial format will be similar to Clinton WASHINGTON (AP) — After some last-minute tweaks on Tuesday, the proposed rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial now largely mirror the ones used for the trial of former President Bill Clinton. Though there are some minor differences, the basic structure of Trump’s trial will be similar to Clinton’s in 1999. After approving the rules, the Senate will hear arguments from lawyers on both sides before debating whether to seek witness testimony and documents. Ultimately they will reach a final vote on the two charges against Trump. Still, there could be some major differences with Clinton's trial.

Democrats complained that the two-day limit would have meant that they would be making the arguments until 1:00 a.m. or later, depriving much of the public from being able to watch the proceedings.

"If Leader McConnell is so confident the president did nothing wrong, why don't they want the case to be presented in broad daylight?" Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer askd Tuesday.

The change means the trial days, which start at 1 p.m. ET, will likely now conclude around 9 pm.

McConnell also tweaked another controversial provision that could have barred all the evidence against Trump gathered by the House Democrats' inquiry from being entered into the Senate record.

Under the resolution by read by the Senate clerk on Tuesday, the evidence now will be admitted automatically unless there's an objection, rather than requiring a pro-active vote to admit it.

White House adds eight House Republicans to Trump impeachment team .
The White House has named eight Republican House members to aid in President Trump's defense in his Senate impeachment trial. The White House released the names of the lawmakers on Monday night. They include Reps. Doug Collins of Georgia, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Debbie Lesko of Arizona, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, John Ratcliffe of Texas, Elise Stefanik of New York, and Lee Zeldin of New York.

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