AP

After tweaks, Trump trial format will be similar to Clinton

Jan 22, 2020, 5:38 AM
impeachment...
A copy of revised U.S. Senate Resolution 483, which provides procedures concerning the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, released Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has abruptly changed his proposed rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial after some of his fellow Republican senators objected. (AP Photo/Wayne Partlow)
(AP Photo/Wayne Partlow)

WASHINGTON (AP) — After some last-minute tweaks on Tuesday, the proposed rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial now largely mirror the ones used for the trial of President Bill Clinton.

Though there are some minor differences, the basic structure of Trump’s trial will be similar to Clinton’s in 1999. The Senate will hear arguments from lawyers on both sides before debating whether to seek witness testimony and documents. Ultimately they will reach a final vote on the two charges against Trump.

Still, there could be some major differences with Clinton’s trial.

Clinton’s Republican prosecutors already had evidence that was compiled by then-Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. House Democrats who are charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his dealings in Ukraine have had to compile their own evidence and are trying to prod witnesses who refused to testify. If there are witnesses in Trump’s trial, their testimony will be new, unlike the witnesses deposed in Clinton’s trial.

A look at the rules for Trump’s trial vs. the rules for Clinton’s trial:

FROM BIPARTISAN TO PARTISAN

The Senate adopted the rules for Clinton’s trial 100-0 after the two leaders at the time, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., came to an agreement. There was no such agreement in Trump’s trial and few negotiations between the two parties, as partisanship has hardened in the intervening years.

Democrats have almost uniformly opposed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution for the trial, saying there should be an agreement at the beginning to call in witnesses. They argue that is necessary because many of the people they want to testify defied House subpoenas.

But as in Clinton’s trial, McConnell’s rules push off that question, dictating that the Senate won’t consider whether to call witnesses until after the House impeachment managers and the president’s lawyers make their opening arguments.

DOCUMENTS AND EVIDENCE

The original version of McConnell’s rules released on Monday said that the House couldn’t submit its evidence until the question of witnesses was resolved. But after moderates like Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voiced concerns, McConnell changed the resolution on Tuesday to ensure the evidence will be admitted after opening arguments. In Clinton’s proceedings, the evidence was automatically admitted at the beginning of the trial.

NUMBER OF HOURS, NUMBER OF DAYS

The other tweak made by McConnell on Tuesday covers the timing of the trial, which had been one of the Democrats’ biggest complaints. The House prosecutors and White House defense now have 24 hours over three days to present their case – up from the original resolution, which allowed 24 hours of arguments over only two days. Democrats complained that that would push the trial into “the dead of night,” and McConnell expanded the timeline after the GOP moderates voiced similar concerns.

The rules for Clinton’s trial give the two sides 24 hours each for arguments but don’t specify how many days. They each took three.

SENATORS’ QUESTIONS

The rules for senators’ questions are identical for the two trials: “Upon the conclusion of the president’s presentation, senators may question the parties for a period of time not to exceed 16 hours.”

Per underlying Senate rules, upon which both resolutions were based, the senators have to submit those questions in writing.

WITNESS TESTIMONY

After the senators’ question period, Trump’s trial will follow Clinton’s format with debate over witnesses. In the Trump trial, the House prosecutors and White House defense will have four hours of debate over the question of whether to subpoena witnesses or documents. The Clinton resolution is similar, but it gave the two sides six hours of debate. Both sets of rules also require witnesses to be deposed before they testify publicly.

In Clinton’s trial, the Senate eventually decided to depose three witnesses and allow video excerpts to be played on the Senate floor. But the public had already heard from all three of those witnesses, as they had been interviewed by Starr’s team.

It’s unclear what will happen with witnesses in Trump’s trial. Some Republican senators — including Collins, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — pushed McConnell to include a vote on witnesses and have signaled they will vote to hear at least some testimony.

And at least one high-profile witness, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, has said he would be open to testify in the Senate. Bolton, who was present for many of the episodes detailed by the House as Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats, refused to testify in the House.

MOTION TO DISMISS

The Clinton rules resolution provided that there would be a vote on a motion to dismiss the charges, an apparent concession by Lott to Democrats.

McConnell’s resolution does not mention a motion to dismiss, but does not rule it out. Trump has tweeted that he would like such a motion, but Senate Republicans have indicated that they don’t have the votes to pass it and that they would prefer for the president to be acquitted, as he is expected to be. Still, any senator could offer a motion to dismiss the two articles.

FINAL VOTE

The two resolutions end with almost identical language: “At the conclusion of the deliberations by the Senate, the Senate shall vote on each article of impeachment.”

Today’s Top Stories

AP

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: A giant flag of IR Iran on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2...
ALI ABDUL-HASSAN and ABBY SEWELL Associated Press

US-Iran match reflects a regional rivalry for many Arab fans

The U.S. team’s must-win World Cup match against Iran will be closely watched across the Middle East, where the two nations have been engaged in a cold war for over four decades and where many blame one or both for the region’s woes.
2 days ago
Irene Cara in 'Fame' (Photo courtesy of Mgm/Kobal, Shutterstock)...
MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer

‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ singer-actor Irene Cara dies at 63

singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance ... What a Feeling” from 1983's “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.
4 days ago
The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
5 days ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
6 days ago
Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside of the Chesapeake, Va., Walmart ...
The Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

According to authorities in Virginia, the Walmart shooter bought his gun just hours prior to killing six employees.
6 days ago
Dry lakebed...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Lawsuit looms over tiny fish in drought-stricken West

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Conservationists have notified U.S. wildlife officials that they will sue over delayed decisions related to protections for two rare fish species that are threatened by groundwater pumping in the drought-stricken West. The Center for Biological Diversity sent a formal notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service last week […]
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
After tweaks, Trump trial format will be similar to Clinton