As Politico reports, there are some significant happenings already as the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump gets underway:
Senate Republicans backed down from an aggressive timetable and new restrictions on evidence in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, changing course after protests from senators like Republican Susan Collins of Maine.
Instead of crammingas many as 48 hours of opening arguments from House impeachment managers and the White House counsel into just four days this week, McConnell’s resolution will now give each side 24 hours to speak over three days. That could ultimately extend the trial by two days. And a controversial provision in the plan that would not have automatically included the House’s evidence was also scuttled from a previous draft.
McConnell’s rule changes — which include the admission of evidence from the House impeachment process — were so last-minute that they were actually written out by hand, as NBC News reports. As the New York Times confirms, McConnell made the adjustments due to pushback from his own caucus:
Mr. McConnell made the change after key Republican senators, including Susan Collins of Maine, argued that the rules for Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial should not deviate from the rules used during the only modern precedent, the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999.
Ms. Collins, a moderate Republican who is likely to face a tough re-election bid later this year, has significant sway with Mr. McConnell, as her votes could change the outcome of the trial.
We will update this post as more information becomes available.
In a sudden reversal, McConnell's trial resolution now allows House evidence to be submitted without requiring a vote. pic.twitter.com/ofuunRDyzq
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 21, 2020