House of Representatives votes to send impeachment articles to Senate, triggering trial

Lula Sharp
January 15, 2020

A small group of Senate Republicans - including Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney - have indicated they may join with Democrats to call new witnesses and testimony in the Senate trial. He was referring to calls by Democrats for the Senate to call witnesses who have not yet been deposed.

For McConnell, the Trump impeachment trial marks one of the most hard balancing acts of his long tenure as GOP leader, with a half-dozen different variables weighing on the Kentucky Republican each time he walks to the floor. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been open about working with the White House, has yes to promise the trial would include witnesses, and the the rules of the trial have yet to be announced.

It is widely believed that the president is unlikely to be removed from office, as the Republicans hold a majority in the Senate.

The Senate's role is not to undertake a new inquiry, but rather to conduct a trial based on the articles of impeachment passed by the House and decide whether removing a president from office is warranted.

Also on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will reveal who will serve as prosecutors in the Senate trial.

An impeachment inquiry against Trump was launched by House Democrats in September following a whistle-blower complaint claiming that the president pressed on his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate business activities of the former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine.

Pelosi cited new evidence submitted by Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, which she said showed "the president was the central player in the scheme to pressure Ukraine for his own benefit in the 2020 election".

Then a vote is expected at midday to send the articles to the Senate, then a formal procession to walk the physical articles of impeachment in a box to the Senate in the early evening.

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It also includes communications between Parnas, Giuliani and others about the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich, who balked at Trump's demand for an investigation of the Bidens.

House impeachment investigators released new material on Tuesday from Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman who was working a year ago with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, to pressure Ukraine. They are considering whether to allow a vote on such a motion to dismiss and another to subpoena testimony from new witnesses.

Mrs Pelosi said on Wednesday morning: "I'm very proud to present the managers who will bring the case, which we have great confidence in, in terms of impeaching the president and his removal".

"There is little or no sentiment in the Republican conference for a motion to dismiss", McConnell said Tuesday.

"I asked [McConnell] four times to sit down so we could negotiate witnesses and documents", Schumer complained on Tuesday. "The Senate is on trial, as well as the president". McConnell has announced that the trial will begin in earnest next week with a vote on the rules package.

His Republican Party holds a 53 to 47 majority in the chamber, and conviction requires a two-thirds majority, meaning if all Democrats voted to convict then 20 Republicans would have to also vote that way for Trump to lose the presidency.

"If I was him, I certainly wouldn't disclose it because then Nancy Pelosi could say, 'Oh, now that I've seen the rules, I'm not gonna send these [articles] over.' Why throw your hand in when you've won the game?"

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