WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The U.S. Senate officially launched Tuesday its effort to decide the political fate of President Donald Trump.
Senators are listening and taking notes as the House impeachment managers and the presidents’ defense team debate the rules for the trial.
“It’ll play out differently than it played out in the House.”
Louisiana Republican John Kennedy criticized how House Democrats drafted the articles of impeachment— abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“Speaker Pelosi gets little endorphin bumps of pleasure every time she sticks it to the President,” said Kennedy.
South Carolina Republican Tim Scott says it’s about time Americans heard President Trump’s case.
“I’m looking forward to seeing that happen in less than dramatic fashion but in a thorough contemplative approach to what is, for a politician, a death row trial.”
Last-minute changes to the rules give both the House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team 24 hours over three days to make their case.
Pat Cipollone, the top White House defense attorney, called this process fair.
“Once you hear those initial presentations, the only conclusion will be that the President has done absolutely nothing wrong,” said Cipollone.
But Democrats, like lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff, argue senators can’t make a fair decision unless they can call witnesses and enter further evidence.
“There is simply no rational basis for the Senate to deprive itself of all relevant information,” said Schiff.
But Republicans, like Kennedy, want to hear both sides of the case before deciding whether to call witnesses.
“If you ask every senator, nine out of 10 are gonna tell you that they haven’t read the proceedings in the House, and the tenth is lying to you.”