Impeachment: After Six Days of Opening Statements, Now Two Days of Questions

Waiting for the end of the impeachment proceedings is starting to feel a lot like waiting for Christmas.  Time seems to be dragging.

That might have a lot to do with the fact that each side was given three days to make an opening statement in a situation that all of us know well and could explain in less than 10 minutes.  No matter what outcome you think is correct, not many of the facts are in dispute.

The House prosecution managers used most of their allotted 24 hours. While the president’s defense team used about half of that, it still meant more than 30 combined hours of presentations.

But that part is over.  Now it’s on to questions and answers.

For the next two days, senators can submit questions for either the prosecution or defense to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the proceedings.  The questions will alternate between Democrats and Republicans, and will be read aloud.  There is no time limit on the answers, and the answers can’t be challenged by the senators.

After Q&A, on Friday the Senate will likely debate and vote on calling witnesses.  With several Republican senators on the fence, the outcome is still in question.

Representative Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic prosecutor in the case, told reporters:

“A fair trial involves witnesses and it involves documents.”

In a closed session after opening statements, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators he did not currently have the votes to block Democrats from calling witnesses.

President Trump lashed out at the process when he tweeted:

“no matter how many witnesses you give the Democrats, no matter how much information is given,” they will never be satisfied. “They will always scream UNFAIR.”

 

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