House votes to send articles of impeachment to Senate
The House voted Wednesday to send the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, a move that will allow his trial to begin on Tuesday.
The two articles, charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, will later be walked from the House side of the Capitol to the Senate side, where they will be received by the secretary of the Senate.
The House vote also formally approved the seven “managers” selected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to prosecute the case against the president.
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Sen. Blunt: Impeachment trial could take 3 weeks or more
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said Wednesday that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump could last "a minimum of three weeks."
"Hard to imagine it would be less than two," he said. "Something in the neighborhood of three weeks, maybe as many as five. But we'll just have to see."
Blunt was also asked if he had any new thoughts on calling witnesses after House Democrats released records on Tuesday that showed Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, wrote a letter requesting a private meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, then the president-elect of Ukraine, with Trump's "knowledge and consent."
"My initial view of the evidence last night is there's not much there that hasn't been already acknowledged by either the President or Mr. Giuliani," he said.
Blunt added that doesn't "see much enthusiasm" for including a motion to dismiss the impeachment articles in the Senate rules for the trial — comments that come on the heels of other Republican senators expressing similar sentiments.
"Anybody, including any of the president's lawyers, can make a motion to dismiss any time they want to, but I think there is a significant desire on our side for the president to be heard, for the other side to necessarily be heard, for the equal amount of attention," he said, adding that he thought both sides deserve the right to be heard under the Constitution.
House committee probing possible threats to Marie Yovanovitch
Records released Tuesday by House Democrats appear to show that former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was being closely monitored by a Republican congressional candidate, her physical movements tracked in real time along with her computer and phone use.
The documents include WhatsApp exchanges between Giuliani associate Parnas and Robert Hyde, a GOP candidate for Congress in Connecticut, where they appear to be discussing Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed from her post at Giuliani's urging.
Yovanovitch on Tuesday night through her lawyer called for authorities to investigate whether her movements in Ukraine were indeed being monitored as Hyde suggested in the text messages released tonight.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Elliot Engel said on Wednesday that he was doing just that.
"Yesterday, the Foreign Affairs Committee staff contacted the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security to flag this information and seek assurances that proper steps have been taken to ensure the security of Embassy Kyiv and that of Ambassador Yovanovitch. I’m grateful for the Department’s quick response and confident this matter is getting the attention it merits," he said in a statement.
He added, "The Foreign Affairs Committee will now seek to learn what, if anything, the State Department knew about this situation at the time these messages were sent. Today, I will convey a formal request for documents, information, and a briefing from senior officials related to this matter. This unprecedented threat to our diplomats must be thoroughly investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
What senators can say, read and do: Decorum guidelines for Trump's impeachment trial
Here are the guidelines for how senators are to conduct themselves during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, which is expected to begin on Tuesday. They were put out by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
- Senators should plan to be in attendance at all times during the proceedings.
- Upon the announcement of the arrival of the chief justice, senators should all silently rise at their desks and remain standing until the chief justice takes his seat. Similarly, when the chief justice departs, senators should rise and remain standing until he has exited the chamber.
- Senators will only have the opportunity for limited speech at the trial. Members should refrain from speaking to neighboring senators while the case is being presented.
- Reading materials should be confined to only those readings which pertain to the matter before the Senate.
- No use of phones or electronic devices will be allowed in the chamber. All electronics should be left in the cloakroom in the storage provided.
Read more about the Senate rules of decorum.
Senate weighs restricting reporters during Trump impeachment trial
The Senate is weighing significant restrictions on reporters covering the upcoming impeachment trial, including limiting the movements of reporters and upping security screenings for the press.
The Standing Committee of Correspondents, an elected body of journalists that govern and advocate for print media, wrote to Senate leaders on Tuesday "vigorously" objecting to the proposed restrictions, which the group said included forcing reporters into penned areas and barring them from walking freely around outside the Senate chambers.
They said it was not clear how the proposed rules added to safety "rather than simply limit coverage of the trial."
Presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, said on Tuesday night after the debate that she did not support the change.
Read more about the proposed restrictions on the news media.
Pelosi names 7 House Democrats who will present case against Trump at Senate trial
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday announced the seven House Democrats who will act as the "managers" in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
The managers are: Reps. Adam Schiff of California, who will be the lead manager; Jerry Nadler of New York' Hakeem Jeffries of New York; Jason Crow of Colorado; Zoe Lofgren of California; Val Demings of Florida; and Sylvia Garcia of Texas.
The managers have varied biographies: Schiff was a federal prosecutor; Demings was a police chief; several are attorneys, and Lofgren was a staffer on the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment and a House member during the Clinton impeachment.
Pelosi said the House would vote Wednesday afternoon to approve the managers and transmit the two articles of impeachment to the Senate. The trial is set to begin on Tuesday; it's not yet clear if witnesses will be called.
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