Donald Trump’s trial begins: Articles of impeachment read to Senate

THE IMPEACHMENT TIMETABLE

Here’s what happens on the first full day of ceremonies leading up to the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

12:00 PM: Democratic House managers for the Senate trial, announced by Pelosi Wednesday, arrive 

12.10PM: Adam Schiff the lead impeachment manager, reads the articles of impeachment

12:30 PM: The Democratic Caucus will hold a luncheon

2:00 PM: Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will be sworn by Senator Chuck Grassley on the Senate floor. Roberts will then swear in all 100 senators who will act as jurors in the impeachment trial.

After that: The Senate is expected to spend part of the afternoon discussing details of the scheduling and set-up of the Senate Floor for when the trial commences on Tuesday. 

Tuesday: Senators will debate the rules of the trial. After that the Democratic impeachment managers will begin making their case, over 24 hours spread across four days

Donald Trump’s impeachment trial began Thursday in high ceremony and amid vicious political division – as outside the Senate a series of new bombshells exploded in the Ukraine scandal.

At 12.05pm, five minutes late, the seven House Democratic impeachment managers arrived at the Senate to formally read the articles of impeachment – and kick off President Trump’s trial. 

The Senate Sergeant at Arms James Mathers proclaimed: ‘Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment.’

Then Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager began to read the resolution from Congress which impeaches ‘Donald John Trump.’ 

The Senate was silent as Schiff stood in the well of the chamber. Every senator was present; from now until the end of the trial they must be in the Senate for every minute of the trial.

Later Thursday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will arrive at the chamber and be sworn in so he can preside over the trial, which will being in earnest on Tuesday, once Congress returns from the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. 

Roberts will then swear in members of the Senate as jurors. 

Trump’s impeachment trial begins as the president can tout back-to-back victories on trade. 

On Wednesday he signed phase one of a trade deal with China. On Thursday, before the House impeachment managers arrived, the Senate voted to approve his U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal in a bipartisan way.  

That deal’s passage in the House was also overshadowed by impeachment, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling an impeachment vote on December 18 and the trade deal vote one day later. 

The trial also starts as new evidence has prompted Ukrainian police to open a formal investigation into whether U.S. Amb. Marie Yovanovitch was being surveilled while holding the top diplomatic post in the country. 

That evidence came courtesy of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas, who turned over messages to House Democrats before they transmitted the articles of impeachment over to the Senate. 

Those messages included ones Parnas received from pro-Trump Congressional candidate Robert Hyde that insinuated he had men watching Yovanovitch’s movements. ‘They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,’ the message said. 

In his sit-down with Maddow, Parnas said he didn’t believe Hyde had people actually spying on Yovanovitch and said he didn’t think the ambassador was in harm’s way. 

Still, it got a reaction from Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, which runs the police. 

‘Our goal is to investigate whether there actually was a violation of Ukrainian and international law, which could be the subject for proper reaction. Or whether it is just bravado and fake information in the informal conversation between two U.S. citizens,’ the ministry said in a statement Thursday. 

On their way: The Democratic impeachment managers are led from the House to the Senate in procession by the House Sergeant at Arms, Paul Irving 

Setting: House Sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving leads the seven Democratic impeachment managers through Statuary Hall, from the House to the Senate

Setting: House Sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving leads the seven Democratic impeachment managers through Statuary Hall, from the House to the Senate

Moment of history: The Senate' sergeant-at-arms, James Mathers, leads the Democratic impeachment managers to the well of the Senate, with Adam Schiff, the lead manager directly behind him, and Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee beside him

Moment of history: The Senate’ sergeant-at-arms, James Mathers, leads the Democratic impeachment managers to the well of the Senate, with Adam Schiff, the lead manager directly behind him, and Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee beside him

The Senate Sergeant at Arms James Mathers proclaimed: 'Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment.'

The Senate Sergeant at Arms James Mathers proclaimed: ‘Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment.’

Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager began to read the resolution from Congress which impeaches 'Donald John Trump.'

Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager began to read the resolution from Congress which impeaches ‘Donald John Trump.’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor Thursday, as the House impeachment managers are due in his chamber in several hours

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor Thursday, as the House impeachment managers are due in his chamber in several hours 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference Thursday, her first since House Democrats delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference Thursday, her first since House Democrats delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate 

Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will be sworn in at 2 p.m. Thursday as he prepares to preside over the impeachment hearing in the Senate

Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will be sworn in at 2 p.m. Thursday as he prepares to preside over the impeachment hearing in the Senate 

The announcement came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump

The announcement came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell detailed Wednesday that the Senate would read the articles of impeachment and swear in Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts on Thursday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell detailed Wednesday that the Senate would read the articles of impeachment and swear in Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts on Thursday 

Pelosi hands out pens after she signed the articles to lawmakers

Pelosi hands out pens after she signed the articles to lawmakers

Another drawback for the president was the non-partisan Government Accountability Office’s assessment, released Thursday, that said he broke the law when he withheld the Ukraine aid. 

‘Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for thos that Congress has enacted into law,’ the opinion read. ‘[The Office of Management and Budget] withheld funds for a policy reason … not a programmatic delay. Therefore we conclude that the OMB violated the [Impoundment Control Act].’

Trump’s impeachment revolves around the accusation that he held up $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the country’s new president to announce investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden and the origins of the 2016 Russia probe. 

President Trump retweeted Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn who suggested Democratic hopefuls shouldn't serve as jurors in President Trump's impeachment trial

President Trump retweeted Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn who suggested Democratic hopefuls shouldn’t serve as jurors in President Trump’s impeachment trial 

Former Vice President Joe Biden is one of the leading 2020 Democratic candidates. 

During his usual flurry of morning tweets Thursday, the president retweeted Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, who pointed out that four of the Senate jurors were also aiming to be Trump’s 2020 rival. 

‘[Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet] are spending millions of dollars to defeat [President Trump], and we’re supposed to believe they will be impartial during the trial?’ Blackburn wrote. ‘They should recuse themselves.’  

On Thursday, Republicans were also taking issue with Pelosi’s sunny demeanor.   

She smiled and gave out autographed pens during Wednesday evening’s Engrossment Ceremony, in which she signed the articles of impeachment.  

‘When the managers walk down the hall, we will cross a threshold in history,’ she said. ‘Delivering articles of impeachment against the president of the United States for abuse of power and obstruction of the House.’ 

The job of the deliver fell onto Pelosi’s chosen seven, which she announced earlier Wednesday:  Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Val Demings, Sylvia Garcia and Jason Crow. 

The Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson carried the impeachment articles in two blue folders, escorted by House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, and the seven Democratic impeachment managers, through Statuary Hall, into the ornate rotunda with its paintings depicting scenes from American history, under the Dome, and to the Senate side of the Capitol. 

The procession was solemn and no one spoke as Johnson carefully held the articles during the march. 

The seven managers then marched the articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – to the Senate side of the Capitol where the upper chamber can now begin its impeachment trial against Donald Trump

The seven managers then marched the articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – to the Senate side of the Capitol where the upper chamber can now begin its impeachment trial against Donald Trump

Trump (pictured at the White House on Wednesday) is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate

Trump (pictured at the White House on Wednesday) is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate

Pelosi handed out souvenir pens with her signature on it after signing the articles to Democrats gathered for the ceremony

Pelosi handed out souvenir pens with her signature on it after signing the articles to Democrats gathered for the ceremony

Pelosi (right) was seated with rival Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) at the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on the Capitol an hour before the Engrossment Ceremony

Pelosi (right) was seated with rival Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) at the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on the Capitol an hour before the Engrossment Ceremony

House Clerk Cheryl Johnson, House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and the impeachment managers leave the Senate after depositing the impeachment articles

House Clerk Cheryl Johnson, House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and the impeachment managers leave the Senate after depositing the impeachment articles

They carried the articles through the rotunda, which contains paintings of famous scenes in American history

They carried the articles through the rotunda, which contains paintings of famous scenes in American history

The clerk, sergeant and arms and seven impeachment managers walk through Statuary Hall, which used to serve as the House chamber, in the Capitol

The clerk, sergeant and arms and seven impeachment managers walk through Statuary Hall, which used to serve as the House chamber, in the Capitol

READ THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP

In 1,414 words, the articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday lay out two charges against President Donald Trump.

Article I: Abuse of Power

Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.

Accused: Donald Trump has two articles of impeachment against him

Accused: Donald Trump has two articles of impeachment against him

He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.

President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations.

President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.’

Article II: Obstruction of Congress

As part of this impeachment inquiry, the Committees undertaking the investigation served subpoenas seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry from various Executive Branch agencies and offices, and current and former officials.

In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

This abuse of office served to cover up the President’s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.

 

Shortly thereafter McConnell explained what the schedule would be for Thursday, and said that the trial would officially begin Tuesday. 

Trump is due in Davos, Switzerland the same day to again deliver an address at the World Economic Forum. He attended the event in 2018, though skipped it in 2019 due to the ongoing government shutdown.         

McConnell says there will be a vote after opening arguments to decide if the Senate should call witnesses to testify in the hearing that will decide if the president will be removed from office.

None of the Senate’s 53 Republicans have voiced support for ousting Trump, a step that would require a two-thirds majority in the 100-member chamber.

Though the ultimate outcome is not in doubt, the trial could deliver some moments of drama. 

Democrats are pressing to call Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton as a witness, which could prove damaging to Trump. Other witnesses in the impeachment inquiry said Bolton was a vocal critic of the effort to pressure Ukraine.

McConnell, however, has resisted the idea of calling witnesses at all. He claims his chamber should only consider evidence that has already been dug up by the House.

But other Republicans and Trump himself have said they would like to call witnesses of their own – including Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma from 2014-2019.  

THE IMPEACHMENT MANAGERS: MEET THE SEVEN DEMOCRATS PROSECUTING DONALD TRUMP

Adam Schiff of California: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, 59, led the impeachment process against Donald Trump. He became a frequent target of Trump’s fury: the president called him ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff and made fun of his neck. But Schiff won praise for his leadership during witnesses hearings. Schiff served in the California State Assembly and was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for six years. He oversaw the prosecution of Richard Miller, the first FBI agent ever to be indicted for espionage. Elected to Congress in 2012. 

Jerry Nadler of New York: The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, 72, led the series of hearings that developed the two articles of impeachment against the president: abuse of power and obstruction of justice. He’s in his 15th term in Congress and was a New York State Assembly man before joining Capitol Hill. He was in law school when he was first elected to state office and completed his J.D. while serving in Albany. He and Schiff were expected to be named. Elected to Congress in 1992.

Zoe Lofgren of California: A close Nancy Pelosi ally and a long time friend of the speaker, Lofgren, 72, has the unique experience of playing a role in three presidential impeachment proceedings: as a Judiciary Committee staffer during Richard Nixon’s in 1974, as a Judiciary Committee Member during Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment, and now in President Trump’s. Additionally, she heads the Committee on House Administration, a position that has the moniker ‘Mayor of Capitol Hill’ given the panel’s jurisdiction over the everyday running of the Capitol, including members’ allowance, office space, and rules of the House. Elected to Congress in 1994.

Hakeem Jeffries of New York: Jeffries, 49, was a litigator in private practice before running for elected office. He worked in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before becoming assistant litigator for Viacom and CBS, where he worked on litigation stemming from the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, when Janet Jackson’s breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed by Justin Timberlake for about half a second, in what was later referred to as a ‘wardrobe malfunction’. The Federal Election Commission fined CBS $550,000 after a long legal case. The Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Jeffries serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Before Congress, he was in the New York State Assembly for six years. Elected to Congress in 2012 and a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Val Demings of Florida: Demings, 62, served in the Orlando Police Department for 27 years, including serving as the city’s first female chief of police. She is one of seven children born in poverty – her father worked in Florida orange groves and her mother was a housekeeper. She was the first member of her family graduate from college. She worked as a social worker before joining the Orlando police department. A member of the House Intelligence panel and the Judiciary Committee, Demings won plaudits for her careful questioning of witnesses during the impeachment hearings. She wrote on Twitter in December, during the impeachment process: ‘I am a descendant of slaves, who knew that they would not make it, but dreamed and prayed that one day I would make it. So despite America’s complicated history, my faith is in the Constitution. I’ve enforced the laws, and now I write the laws. Nobody is above the law.’ She spends her free time riding her Harley-Davidson Road King Classic motorcycle. Elected to Congress in 2016.

Jason Crow of Colorado: Crow, 40, was an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served three tours and was awarded a Bronze Star. He was a private litigator with the Holland and Hart Law Firm before running for Congress. He was elected to Congress in 2018 and serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

Sylvia Garcia of Texas: Garcia, 69, has a strong judicial background. She was the director and presiding judge of the Houston Municipal System and was elected city controller. She was also the first Hispanic and first woman to be elected in her own right to the Harris County Commissioner’s Court. Elected to Congress in 2018, she serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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