Senate Republicans stood together on Tuesday, the first day of the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, as surprising as that may be — not that there wasn’t an occasional crack in the wall.
The biggest loser of the day was Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who saw amendment after amendment go down in flames as the Democrat tried to maneuver to have the White House subpoenaed for documents related to the delayed Ukraine aid.
Four amendments were put forth throughout the day by Democrats that would have altered the rules resolution to require the administration to turn over the documents sought, The Hill reported.
With the GOP holding the majority in the upper chamber, all four amendments were tabled in a 53-47 party-line vote.
Overall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rules package was adopted by the same margin. The Senate leader used the impeachment trial for former President Bill Clinton as a guideline and will allow consideration for new witnesses and documents later on in the proceedings, after opening arguments.
House Democrat impeachment managers claim they have a “compelling case” against the president, saying the evidence against Trump is “overwhelming,” though Schumer is trying to use the Senate trial to embark on another fishing expedition.
“The documents are of equal importance,” he stated. “People should understand that the documents can shed as much light on why the aid was cut off, who did it and how it evolved as the witnesses.”
“We feel very strongly that we need documents, and that’s why it’s our first call,” he added.
The actions of Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, his deputy Robert Blair, and former national security adviser John Bolton are included in the documents Democrats are pursuing.
The first amendment focused on calls between President Trump and the Ukrainian government and any White House communications about investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, The Hill reported. The second was focused on State Department communications, including any communications with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. The third centered on communications from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
As for the aforementioned GOP fissure, Sen. Susan Collins, the liberal Republican from Maine, led an effort that prompted McConnell to relent in allowing evidence to be automatically entered into the official record. He also agreed to expand the 24 hours of debate time each team has from two days to three, which will shorten the long days and ensure more people are tuning in.
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