WATCH LIVE: Senate Impeachment Trial Of President Trump
Watch live coverage as Chief Justice John Roberts presides over the U.S. Senates impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. The two articles of impeachment charge President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Day One Summary (01/21/20):
(NBC News) House managers and attorneys representing the president faced each other on the Senate floor for the first time Tuesday as the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump began.
The two sides squared off over trial rules, which Democrats say appear to be designed by President Trump.
“By President Trump for President Trump. It asks the Senate to rush through as fast as possible and makes getting evidence as hard as possible,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
In the midst of fierce partisanship there was a rare, though modest, compromise. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to give the two sides three days to present their case, instead of two, which would have pushed arguments late into the night.
McConnell still wants separate votes, later, on whether to include evidence gathered in the House impeachment inquiry and whether to allow new witness testimony.
Day Two Summary (01/22/20):
(NBC News) House managers presented their opening arguments Wednesday, for the first time laying out their entire impeachment case against President Trump from start to finish.
“The Constitution demands the removal of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States,” Rep. Adam Schiff told the Senate.
House Democrats have 24 hours, over three days, to convince a small number of moderates in the Republican-controlled Senate that President Trump obstructed Congress and abused his power by urging Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals.
“This scheme was undertaken for a simple but corrupt reason, to influence the 2020 election,” Schiff said.
Outside of the trial, Republicans are defending President Trump against what they call a partisan process.
“They’re on a crusade to destroy this man, don’t care what they destroy in the process,” said Senator Lindsey Graham.
Day Three Summary (01/23/20):
(NBC News) As the second day of opening arguments began in the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump, House managers drilled down on Article One: the charge that Mr. Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.
“The President s conduct is wrong, it is illegal, it is dangerous,” House manager Jerry Nadler told the Senate, adding “You can think of these as the ABCs of high crimes and misdemeanors: abuse, betrayal and corruption.”
The president’s legal team has called the impeachment case invalid because it doesn’t name an actual crime. Democrats are working to debunk that by using past statements from the president’s own attorneys and allies.
Day 4 Summary (1/24/20):
(NBC News) In their third and final day of opening arguments Friday, House impeachment managers zeroed in on the final charge against President Trump: Obstruction of Congress during the House impeachment investigation.
“President Trump tried to cheat, he got caught and then he worked hard to cover it up,” House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told the Senate.
Democrats laid out a timeline, alleging President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, while withholding military aid, that his administration tried to bury records of the president’s July call with Ukraine’s leader, and that he is still hiding the truth by blocking witnesses from testifying and documents from being released.
President Trump’s legal team is set to begin its case Saturday.
Day 5 Summary (1/25/20):
(NBC News) President Trump’s defense will continue to make their case Monday after a short two hour session Saturday.
During that session, his legal team tried to tear down three days of arguments alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The Trump team claims this is all about politics.
“They’re here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told the Senate.
Later this week the Senate may decide whether to hear witnesses like former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The New York Times reports Bolton’s unpublished book directly links a freeze on military aid to President Trump pushing Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. President Trump quickly denied that claim.
“I think they’re deathly afraid of what witnesses will have to say,” House impeachment manager Adam Schiff said on “Meet the Press.”
The Trump defense has 22 hours left to make their case over the next two days.
Day 6 Summary (1/27/20):
(NBC News) President Trump’s legal team will wrap up their opening argument Tuesday as the growing potential of witnesses looms over their case.
Several Republicans have expressed interested in hearing testimony from former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
In a manuscript obtained by the New York Times, Bolton claims President Trump told him he was withholding aid to Ukraine until it announced the investigation he wanted into the Bidens.
“I think at this stage it’s pretty fair to say that John Bolton has a relevant testimony to provide to those of us who are sitting in impartial justice,” Senator Mitt Romney said.
President Trump, meanwhile, is denying Bolton’s allegation.
“I haven’t seen a manuscript, but I can tell you nothing was said to John Bolton, but I haven’t seen it,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House Monday.
Day 7 Summary (1/28/20):
(NBC News) President Trump’s legal team ended its final day of opening arguments in his Senate impeachment trial Tuesday, speaking for less than two hours as they made their case for an acquittal.
Meanwhile, shock waves outside the Senate chamber continued after revelations about a forthcoming book by former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The New York Times quotes sources who have seen the manuscript as saying President Trump admitted he withheld aid to Ukraine in an effort to get political dirt on his political rivals, including Joe Biden.
The Bolton story is putting pressure on Republicans who don’t want witnesses at the trial.
Democrats need four Republicans to join them later this week when the Senate votes on witnesses.
“I don’t think they’re all settled as a group, or as individuals, as to exactly how they’re going to vote, but I’d like to hear from John Bolton,” Senator Mitt Romney said.
Day 8 Summary (1/29/20):
(NBC News) The impeachment trial of President Trump entered a new phase Wednesday, with senators asking questions.
Three of the most watched moderate Republicans asked if the president could have had both personal and public interest in pushing Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
“There’s always some personal interest in the electoral outcome of policy decisions and there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Deputy White House Counsel, a member of President Trump’s defense team.
“If any part of the President’s motivation was a corrupt motive…that is enough to convict,” House impeachment manager Adam Schiff countered.
The questioning quickly shifted to former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Democrats want him to testify after the New York Times reported Bolton claims in an upcoming book that President Trump told him he withheld military aid to Ukraine for political reasons.
The National Security Council on Wednesday warned Bolton not to publish the book, claiming it contains classified information.
President Trump has called Bolton’s account “nonsense” and threatened to block his testimony.
Meanwhile, the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, is calling Bolton a “backstabber,” while one of Giuliani’s indicted associates, Lev Parnas, made a surprise visit to the capitol, saying he, Bolton and even the president should testify.
“The truth is the President knew everything that was going on,” Parnas told reporters.
Day 9 Summary (1/30/20):
(NBC News) The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump could soon come to an end, without witnesses.
Tennessee’s Senator Lamar Alexander has announced he’ll vote against witnesses and new evidence.
Three other moderate Republicans, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski could still vote in favor of calling witnesses, but without more support any vote would end in a tie.
President Trump has declared “game over” on Twitter, and told supporters in Iowa overnight “The American people, and frankly people all over the world, know it’s a hoax.”
Democrats say they can finish up with new witnesses in a week, but no it will be an uphill battle.
“They just don’t want the American people to hear it in all of its ugly, graphic detail,” House impeachment manager Adam Schiff said of Republican opposition.
Day 10 Summary (1/31/20):
(NBC News) Republican hopes of a fast acquittal faded as the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump resumed Friday.
The New York Times released another bombshell from the forthcoming book by former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who alleges the president enlisted him in a politically motivated pressure campaign involving Ukraine and former Vice President Joe Biden last May.
According to the Times, in the book Bolton says during a White House meeting, President Trump instructed him to call Ukraine’s President Zelenskey and arrange a meeting with Rudy Guiliani, the president’s personal attorney.
Bolton says he never made that call, and also claims one of the White House lawyers participating in the impeachment trial, Pat Cipollone, was in the room and heard what the president said.
The White House has issued a statement saying “that meeting never happened.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has apparently secured enough votes to block new witnesses after two Republican senators decided against additional testimony.
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander made that decision despite stating the president’s behavior was inappropriate, while Senator Lisa Murkowski concluded the Senate wouldn’t have a fair trial.
“It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed,” Murkowski’s statement read.