Republicans reject Democratic amendments on witness citation
The United States Senate has approved the rules of the impeachment against the president of the country, Donald Trump, on a marathon day that has lasted until Wednesday due to the eleven amendments proposed by the Democrats to ensure participation of witnesses, although they have finally been rejected.
According to the ‘road map’ approved by the upper house, the parties will have 24 hours divided into three days to present their initial arguments and any evidence presented by the House of Representatives – which exercises the accusation – will be automatically admitted, to unless Trump’s defense opposes, in which case a prior vote will have to be held.
Once the presentations of the two parties are over, the senators – who play the jury role – can interrogate them for a period of time not exceeding 16 hours, after which defense and accusation will have up to four hours to indicate their positions. Next, the members of the upper house will retire to deliberate and then vote separately on the two articles of the ‘impeachment’.
The rules of the ‘impeachment’ have undergone two modifications with respect to the original version drafted by the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who foresaw that the parties presented their initial arguments in 24 hours spread over two days and that any evidence presented by the House of Representatives will need a previous vote to be admitted.
McConnell’s resolution has been passed with 53 votes in favor and 47 against, under Republican rule of the upper house, although these two changes have revealed internal differences in Trump’s party. The final version has been a requirement of a group of Republican senators worried about the express impeachment that their leader had devised.
To approve the rules of the ‘impeachment’, the sole purpose of the first session, thirteen hours have been necessary because the Democrats have submitted eleven amendments to the McConnell text. The Republican chief in the Senate tried to vote in block, but the minority leader, Chuck Schumer, has refused because he wanted the senators to pronounce on “each of them.”
The main purpose of the Democratic amendments was to ensure that throughout the trial against Trump witnesses can be summoned and provide documents, something that both Republicans and the White House have been reluctant to consider to be a work framed in the phase of investigation, which concluded last December in the House of Representatives.
Thus, the Democrats have claimed as witnesses the interim head of the White House, Mick Mulvaney, and one of his advisors, Robert Blair; to the associate director of the Office of Budget and Management for national security programs, Michael Duffey; and former National Security advisor John Bolton.
“A fair trial requires witnesses,” said Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, one of seven members of the House of Representatives elected to prosecute Trump, called ‘managers’. “The Constitution, democracy, the Senate, the president and, above all, the American people, deserve a fair trial,” he stressed.
As for the documentation, the Democratic senators sought to guarantee the delivery of the relevant material from the State and Defense departments and the Office of Budget and Management of the White House.
The eleven amendments have been rejected in a very partisan vote in all but one, the tenth. The 53 Republicans that make up the Upper House have voted against ten of them, while the 47 Democrats have done so in favor.
The tenth amendment referred to the amount of time allocated to motions and the responses written during the trial. One of the Republican senators has voted in favor of it, so the result of the vote has been 52 votes against 48 in favor.
THE CASE AGAINST TRUMP
The political trial will be chaired by the president of the Supreme Court of the United States and the seven deputies appointed by the House of Representatives will act as ‘prosecutors’ of a process in which all senators must act as jurors, regardless of the party in which they act .
The impeachment process encompasses the investigation and voting in the House of Representatives, where Trump was officially disapproved in December, thus becoming the third censored US president, and the political trial in the Upper House, in which, to date , no president has become dismissed.
The process began following a complaint lodged by an Intelligence officer who considered that Trump’s call to the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, on July 25 was an attempt to pressure him to force him to open an investigation into the Biden, paralyzing until then the delivery of more than 300 million dollars of military aid to Kiev and postponing the invitation for a meeting at the White House.
Trump maintains that he is the victim of a “witch hunt” and that his call was “perfect”, despite the contradictions that have been observed in the Government since the complaint of the anonymous official for the alleged campaign of pressure on Ukraine.