US Senate approves President Trump impeachment trial rules
After a marathon session, US Senate approved resolution outlining the rules that will govern President Trump's impeachment proceedings.
New York: After more than 12 hours of debate and several failed Democratic bids for amendments calling for documents and witnesses, the Republic majority US Senate has agreed on the rules for the impeachment trial of Donald Trump following a 53-47 vote to adopt the trial plan for the removal of the US President.
Republicans and Democrats battled over summoning high-level White House witnesses on Tuesday in a marathon first day of arguments in Trump's trial for abuse of power.
After several failed attempts by the Democrats for amendments calling for documents and witnesses, the US Senate approved a resolution outlining the rules that will govern Trump's impeachment proceedings, reported Al Jazeera. Earlier, the Democratic-led House voted to formally choose the seven impeachment managers who will serve as prosecutors arguing that Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress.
The trial started in earnest on Tuesday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly abandoning plans to cram opening arguments into two late-night sessions for each side.
Instead, managers from the House of Representatives and Trump's defence lawyers will now each have three days for 24 hours of opening arguments.
Trump is accused of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, as Trump withheld $391 million in military aid that he later released. He is also accused of subsequently obstructing a congressional probe into his actions.
The Republican Party holds a 53-47 majority in the chamber and conviction requires a two-thirds majority. This means if all Democrats voted to convict, then 20 Republicans will also have to vote for Trump to be convicted and removed from office.
This is the third time in the country's 244-year history that a US President has been impeached and targeted for removal from office.
Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were both impeached by the House but acquitted in Senate trials. Another president, Richard Nixon, resigned in 1974 in the face of certain impeachment in a political corruption scandal.