DAVOS, Switzerland — Before the Senate impeachment trial began in earnest on Tuesday, President Trump was more than 4,000 miles away from Washington, in this glitzy Alpine village, driving a competing narrative — one that had nothing to do with pressure on Ukraine, abuse of power or obstruction of Congress.
MCCONNELL has orchestrated the Senate trial of President DONALD TRUMP thusly: The president’s attorneys and the House impeachment managers each have 24 hours to use over the course of two calendar days to present their case, condensing the meat of the trial into what could be as short as four days in total. These rules will likely have the Senate in session all night and into the wee hours of the morning, as it tries TRUMP for high crimes and misdemeanors. Another highlight: Evidence gathered in the House investigation must be admitted by vote — nothing is automatic. MCCONNELL announced that he had the support of all Republican senators for his rule package weeks ago, essentially ensuring its passage.
THINK OF IT THIS WAY: This could be all over by sometime next week — ahead of the State of the Union on Feb. 4.
SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER called the resolution McConnell will formally introduce later today a “national disgrace,” and said it’s designed to acquit the president quickly. Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine on McConnell’s plan for a “speedy trial”… The resolution
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY as the trial gets started:
— IN THE EARLY AFTERNOON, Democrats and Republicans have their party lunches in the Capitol.
— AROUND 1 P.M., MCCONNELL will offer his resolution, which will detail the rules for the Senate’s trial. Each side has an hour for debate.
— AROUND 3 P.M., SCHUMER will move to amend the rule package to allow for witnesses and documents at the front end of the trial. That is also subject to debate for an hour on each side.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW: How exactly SCHUMER is going to try to amend the rule package. He can force one vote, or multiple votes seeking to amend the package in different ways. Democrats’ priority is to force votes on guaranteeing witnesses and document production as part of the trial. BUT: Democrats’ efforts to amend the package are almost certain to fail.
— ONCE DEMOCRATS finish trying to amend the rules, there will be a vote on the package and the trial will then begin.
DEMOCRATS’ HIVE MIND: The reason they want to try to force witnesses at the front end of the trial is threefold: If a witness is subpoenaed, it will take days to work out a deal for their testimony, so they might as well do it concurrent with the trial; why start hearing arguments and asking questions when you know there could be more information out there? And when the testimony from House managers and Trump’s defense team starts, there is no guarantee Republicans will allow witnesses.