Published: Tue, January 21, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Senate Majority Leader McConnell Lays Out Ground Rules for Trump's Impeachment Trial

Senate Majority Leader McConnell Lays Out Ground Rules for Trump's Impeachment Trial

"Sen. McConnell's proposed rules depart dramatically from the Clinton precedent - in ways that are created to prevent the Senate and the American people from learning the full truth about President Trump's actions that warranted his impeachment", he said. Trump's attorneys on Saturday denied the allegations of wrongdoing by Trump and argued that the charges themselves do not amount to impeachable offences and therefore violate the Constitution, accusing House Democrats of a "brazen and unlawful attempt" to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Constitutional scholars say the grounds for impeachment and removal from office - "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" - are a catch-all created to redress any consequential abuse of power so long as that abuse hurts the country at large. Offenses meriting that step "are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself".

"He placed himself above the law and eviscerated the separation of powers". The money was held up last summer on orders from Trump but released in September after Congress pushed for its release and a whistleblower's complaint about Trump's July call with the Ukrainian leader became public. "It is no accident that the Senate is being asked to consider a presidential impeachment during an election year", the memo said.

Trump's lawyers released two other opinions Monday issued by the same office.

As one of the officials most deeply involved in trying to get Ukraine to do Trump's bidding, Sondland testified that there was indeed a quid pro quo in the matter and "everyone was in the loop".

"Was there a 'quid pro quo?' Sondland asked in his statement to the House Intelligence Committee".

While there could be a fast-track trial, Democrats could slow things down by proposing that a series of witnesses testify.

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The aide added that the House managers "strongly object" to this format and argued that if the rumored schedule is true, it is Senate Republicans "trying to hide the president's misconduct in the dead of night rather than putting it in the light of day".

John Dowd, a lawyer who represented Trump during the Mueller probe, which included an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, said the addition of seasoned litigators Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz to Trump's legal team could ensure brevity in the proceedings due to their directness. Clinton's White House defense team also used three days to deliver their arguments, taking between two and four hours each day.

THE FACTS: Not true. "The Articles themselves - and the rigged process that brought them here - are a brazenly political act by House Democrats that must be rejected".

Since it wasn't until October 31 that the House established rules for the impeachment inquiry in a formal vote, subpoenas issued before then - such as to Pompeo - are not legally enforceable, according to the Justice Department opinion.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the articles of impeachment - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - Wednesday evening. He said it was "not like a jury box (in a criminal trial) in the sense that people will call us and lobby us".

EDITOR'S NOTE - A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.

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