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article imageWhat's next in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump

By AFP     Jan 22, 2020 in Politics

The US Senate voted along party lines on Tuesday to set the rules for President Donald Trump's historic impeachment trial.

By a 53 to 47 vote, the Republican-controlled Senate approved an "organizing resolution" for the trial proposed by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Before approving the rules, the Senate voted down several amendments proposed by Democrats seeking to subpoena witnesses and documents from the White House and State Department.

These are the next phases in Trump's impeachment trial, just the third of a president in US history:

- Opening arguments -

The Democratic members of the House of Representatives chosen to present the impeachment case against Trump will deliver opening arguments to the Senate beginning on Wednesday.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed impeachment trial rules calling for each ...
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed impeachment trial rules calling for each side to have 24 hours over three days to present their arguments
Mandel NGAN, AFP

They will have a total of 24 hours over three days to present their case that Trump should be impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his attempt to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

McConnell had initially planned to compress the 24 hours of argument into two days, which could have led the sessions to go well past midnight.

But McConnell extended the time to three days under pressure from some fellow Republicans.

Following the House presentation, Trump's defense team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, will have 24 hours over three days to present their rebuttal.

- Written questions -

Adam Schiff  chairman of the House Intelligence Committee  is serving as the lead House prosecutor i...
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is serving as the lead House prosecutor in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump
CHIP SOMODEVILLA, GETTY IMAGES/AFP/File

Following opening arguments, senators will have a total of 16 hours to ask questions in writing to House prosecutors or the White House defense team.

The written questions from the senators will be read out loud in the chamber by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial.

- Witnesses and documents -

Following the question period, House prosecutors and the White House defense team will have two hours each to argue for or against subpoenaing witnesses or documents.

John Roberts  the chief justice of the US Supreme Court  is presiding over the impeachment trial of ...
John Roberts, the chief justice of the US Supreme Court, is presiding over the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump
SAUL LOEB, AFP

The Senate will then vote on whether any witnesses or documents should be subpoenaed. A simple majority vote of 51 senators will decide the issue.

House Democrats have said they want former National Security Advisor John Bolton and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and two others to testify.

If there is an agreement to hear witnesses, they will first be deposed behind closed doors. The Senate will then decide whether they will be allowed to testify publicly.

- Senate vote -

Following the conclusion of deliberations, the Senate will vote on each of the two articles of impeachment.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone is defending President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial in th...
White House counsel Pat Cipollone is defending President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial in the Senate
Drew Angerer, GETTY IMAGES/AFP/File

A two-thirds majority of the senators present is required for conviction. Conviction on just a single article is enough to remove Trump from office.

With Republicans holding a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate, Trump -- barring the unexpected -- is likely to be acquitted.

The Senate vote could possibly be held late next week -- ahead of Trump's planned February 4 appearance before a joint session of Congress for the annual State of the Union speech.

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