Democrats pressure Republicans to guarantee fair impeachment trial

Sunday, 22 Dec, 2019

Trump made the remarks after Dingell's wife Debbie voted in favor of two articles of impeachment.

However, a majority of 51 Senators can vote to change any of the rules at any time, according to the caveat "unless otherwise ordered by the Senate" which appears eight times in the rules.

'By the way, it doesn't really feel like we're being impeached, ' Trump said after the House voted to impeach him.

If the president were to be impeached by his own party, it would be an unprecedented move. "The power to impeach was meant to hold the president accountable for wrongdoing and make it clear that no one is above the law".

Democrats want to call top Trump aides as witnesses, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet sent the impeachment package over to the Senate in a bid to ramp up the pressure.

McConnell and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer met briefly Thursday in a first attempt at hammering out details of a trial that could begin as early as the second week of January.

"The president is impeached", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared after the vote.

Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to dig up damaging information on one of his main Democratic challengers for the presidency in 2020, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter. Thus, at least 20 Republicans would need to break from Trump in order to convict him in a Senate trial, assuming every Democrat votes to remove him from office.

Some 42 per cent of respondents - a lot of them Democrats - said Congress should carry out its ultimate sanction and remove the President from office, as the Senate has the power to do. He claimed the timing of the trial was up to the Senate, and that if Democrats didn't transmit the articles of impeachment "they would lose by Default!"

The Bidens' dealings in Ukraine and Trump's request to Zelensky in the phone call to them set off the impeachment process.

McConnell, Trump's most powerful GOP ally in the Senate, welcomed the president's emerging defense team Friday for a walk-through of the Senate chamber. Until the articles are submitted, the Senate can not hold the trial. "The Senate must put this right", McConnell said on the Senate floor.

McConnell said Thursday. "I continue to believe that the unanimous bipartisan precedent that was good enough for President Clinton ought to be good enough for this president, too".

The House has initiated impeachment proceedings more than 60 times, but "less than a third have led to full impeachments" according to the U.S. House of Representatives website.

"Her threat to the Senate is 'Do exactly what I want or I'm not going to impeach the president, I'm not going to send over the impeachment articles, '" Cruz said during an appearance on Fox News on Thursday. Endangered Republican senators including Cory Gardner of Colorado and Martha McSally of Arizona need strong turnout by the GOP base to win, and will be hard-pressed to take Schumer's side.

They say the trial has to be fair, with senators acting as impartial jurors, and that Mr McConnell's comments show he has no plans to do this.

The deal fulfills spending requirements for the military that were sought by Republicans, as well as domestic projects prioritised by Democrats.

"When you have a trial you get to call witnesses", he told Reuters.