Impeachment Trial Week 2 Breakdown

By Cristina Goerdt

WEDNESDAY, 29 JANUARY: The 16 hours allotted for questioning began. Senators were free to ask questions of both House managers and President Trump’s defense. Senators asked questions regarding the ethics of the Biden family, foreign interference, and the legality of quid pro quos among other items. Senators asked 93 questions in total. However, Chief Justice Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, refused to read a question submitted by Republican Senator Rand Paul. The question contained the name of an individual whom several conservative outlets have named as the CIA whistleblower, as well as the name of a member of Representative Adam Schiff’s staff. In other news, the White House wrote a letter to John Bolton’s lawyer arguing that the manuscript for Bolto’s forthcoming book contains classified material. 

THURSDAY, 30 JANUARY: Questioning formally ended leaving Senators to decide if they are in favor of or against calling witnesses ahead of Friday’s historic vote. In this heated battle for votes, Trump’s counsel argued that Rudy Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer, was not conducting foreign policy in Ukraine and accused Democrats of cherry-picking witnesses. White House counsel Alan Dershowitz was not present at the trial. Dershowtiz told CNN he had prior plans to spend the weekend in Miami with his family for the Super Bowl. Late in the evening, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, a key swing vote for Democrats, announced that he would not be voting to call more witnesses on Friday. 

FRIDAY, 31 JANUARY: The Senate voted down a measure to call more witnesses and evidence in the trial of President Trump 51-49. In addition to Alexander, swing vote Sen. Lisa Murkowski also voted no. Republican Sens. Mitt Romny and Susan Collins did align their votes with the Democrats. After the vote, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accused Republican Senators of assisting Trump with wrongdoing. Senate majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell introduced a resolution to govern the remainder of the trial; several Democratic amendments were tabled, but the timeline passed. 

MONDAY, 3 FEBRUARY: Closing arguments were made today. The White House counsel argued that the logical end of the trail is to acquit Trump, while Schiff and the other House managers continued to push for removal. One of Trump’s attorney’s invoked so-called “Deflategate,” noting that the United States is a country where one must play by the rules. Pat Cipollone, another one of Trump’s defense lawyers, framed his closing statements within the context of protecting the Constitution. CNN noted that fewer Senators appeared engaged today as opposed to the earlier days of the trial. Schiff also spoke in terms of protecting the Constitution and American democracy. Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia called for Trump to be censured early this evening, even as he remained unclear as to which way he would vote. 

TUESDAY, 4 FEBRUARY: Prior to Trump’s State of the Union address, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer said that Manchin’s suggestion of censuring Trump was not an option. Republican swing vote Sen. Susan Collins announced she would vote to acquit, while former presidential candidate Cory Booker said that he would vote to convict. Paul read aloud the question that Chief Justice Roberts refused to admit during the questioning period, but argued that it did not out the whistleblower, saying he does not know the whistleblower’s identity. 

WEDNESDAY, 5 FEBRUARY: The Senate voted to acquit Trump on all charges, in a vote that occurred along party lines. In a stunning move, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, voted to convict Trump. Jones was expected to acquit based on his arguments that the impeachment trial was not impartial.

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