Senate blocks bid for new impeachment evidence and witnesses

Senate blocks bid for new impeachment evidence and witnesses
Senate blocks bid for new impeachment evidence and witnesses

The first substantive day of President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial turned into a late night, insult-filled battle between House prosecutors and the President's legal team, as Republicans voted down repeated efforts by Democrats to have the Senate subpoena witnesses and documents related to the Ukraine impeachment investigation.

"They will not permit the American people to hear from the witnesses," Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said, taking direct aim at the President's lawyers. "And they lie. And lie and lie and lie."

That prompted an immediate response from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who demanded that Nadler apologize, accusing him of making repeated false allegations about President Trump.

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"The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you," Cipollone said.

Just before 1 am, Chief Justice John Roberts warned both sides to tone it down, his first real foray into the impeachment trial.

"I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the President's counsel, in equal terms, to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body," as the Chief Justice made clear the debate was not following along the lines of civil discourse.

"I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are," Chief Justice Roberts added.

Democrats kept the Senate working past midnight in a bid to put Republicans on the record on calling witnesses like former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and other top officials who defied subpoenas from the House.

"The House calls John Bolton. The House calls Mick Mulvaney," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said at one point. "Let's get this trial started, shall we?"

But with Republicans sticking together, GOP Senators defeated a series of Democratic amendments to an impeachment rules resolution on identical votes of 53-47 - straight along party lines.

Democrats said there was only one reason why Republicans were not looking to hear from new witnesses - because they don't want to hear the real Ukraine story.

On the other side, Republicans joined the White House legal team in blasting the demands of Democrats.

"The only thing that’s rigged is Democrats’ perpetual effort to undo the results of the 2016 election," said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

In the end, no Republicans broke ranks, as the GOP defeated 11 different amendments by Democrats to change the GOP rules plan, bringing about a final vote over 12 hours after the Senate convened.