McConnell spells out impeachment rules; Schumer vows to fight, ‘That’s a cover-up, not a trial’ and
Screen captures … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) … Credits: CNN, CNBC

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer fired off a partisan shot at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan for President Trump’s impeachment trial, calling it a “national disgrace” and a “cover-up” of alleged evidence.

On Monday afternoon, McConnell released his plan in a resolution that outlines a fast-paced, two-stage trial in which Democrats and Republicans will each have a total of 24 hours over two days to make their arguments before the Senate.

A potential third stage may allow witnesses to be called or documents presented after Senators have 16 hours to submit written questions through Chief Justice John Roberts.

The plan dictates a short series of long days and nights, but until the agenda is confirmed or amended by Senate leaders in a closed door session late on Tuesday, it is subject to revisions.

If all goes according to plan, Dems could be on the clock for making their case against Trump by 1 pm on Wednesday.

Schumer spoke to reporters as he was about to board a train to Washington, D.C. and said, “[McConnell] doesn’t want to hear any of the evidence and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence. That’s a cover-up, not a trial.”

“Leader McConnell is going along with President Trump’s cover-up hook, line and sinker,” Schumer continued. “When you look at his resolution, it’s no wonder he delayed it until the last minute. He didn’t want people to study it or know about it.”

Schumer also tweeted his dismay, saying, “Sen. McConnell is hell-bent on making it much more difficult to get witnesses & documents and intent on rushing the trial through …”

The McConnell plan does not specifically provide an opportunity for the Trump legal team to ask for a dismissal of the articles against him before Democrats use their allotted time to make their case. However, they might choose to do so on their own initiative.

A total of 51 Senate votes are required for the McConnell plan to be approved. Republicans control 53 seats.

According to the Daily Mail, Tuesday’s timetable for the first official day of the impeachment trial would be …

  • Tuesday 1 pm: Swearing in of Republican Jim Inhofe who missed being sworn by Chief Justice John Roberts last week
  • After Inhofe’s swearing in: McConnell has two hours to present his plan on how the trial should proceed
  • Approximately 3.30 pm: Schumer has two hours to present his plan 
  • By 6pm: The Senate will go into closed session – cameras are switched off, reporters leave, senators debate the proposal 
  • Tuesday evening: The Senate returns to open session to vote on the final rules.

If the McConnell plan is approved and adopted, an expected schedule for trial proceedings would look like this …

  • Wednesday 9 am: Deadline for Trump’s lawyers to motion for an instant dismissal of the articles of impeachment – a possibility which Republicans have said would not pass the Senate. House Dems can make their own motions but cannot demand witnesses be subpoenaed.
  • Each side has until 11 am to file their response to motions put forward.
  • 1 pm: The actual trial begins. Democrats start making their case. 
  • If Dems do start at 1 pm Wednesday and the trial is on schedule, Democrats have till 1 pm Friday to conclude, with a limit of taking no more than 24 hours time on the floor. Running late into the night is a possibility.
  • Trump attorneys begin making their case at 1 pm Friday, if the trial is on schedule.
  • Monday, 1 pm: The president’s defense team should conclude their case by now.
  • Monday, following the end of the defense’s case, senators have 16 hours to ask written questions after which Roberts decides which to answer and in what order. He reads them out to the Democrats and Trump’s attorneys.


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Victor Rantala


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