Senate continues lengthy debate over rules for impeachment trial

Washington D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ The U.S. Senate has been battling for hours over the rules that will govern the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, believes the rules proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, don’t provide enough time, witnesses and documents to unveil the truth.

“The McConnell rules seem to be designed by President Trump, for President Trump,” Schumer said.

McConnell argues his rules are consistent with those decided upon during the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton.

“A majority of us are committed to upholding the unanimous bipartisan Clinton precedent,” McConnell said.

But House impeachment managers say the rules don’t follow patterns of the past.

“To be debating whether you should have the evidence admitted, to be debating whether you should allow witnesses, is to be debating whether you should have a coverup,” House Impeachment Manager Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said Democrats want rules allowing more White house documents to come forward.

“We want more evidence, firsthand, direct evidence from people who were in the room, eyes, and ears on the president,” Blumenthal said.

But McConnell maintains that Democrats will have to wait for White House documents and witnesses, if any, in the second phase of the trial.

“One-hundred out of 100 senators agreed two decades ago to cross these bridges when we came to them,” McConnell said.

McConnell said the Senate trial will be fair under his rules.

“Here in the Senate, the president’s lawyers will finally receive a level playing field with the House Democrats, and will finally be able to present the president’s case,” McConnell said.

Once the rules are approved, opening arguments will be presented.

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