WASHINGTON — Deseret News reporter Matthew Brown reports on the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and will be publishing updates throughout the day.
Former Sen. Jeff Flake makes appearance at impeachment trial
7:10 p.m. MST
A familiar face in the Senate was seated in the gallery listening as House managers and Trump’s legal team argued over the trial’s rules. Jeff Flake, who served six terms in the House and one term in the Senate, told reporters it “pains” him to hear the president’s attorneys say Trump did nothing wrong. However, he said he’s not sure he would have voted to impeach him either, according to the New York Times.
Flake, who was an outspoken critic of Trump and didn’t seek reelection in 2018, may have been mistaken by Capitol Police for a sitting senator.
Police are restricting reporters’ access to senators during the trial and Politico reported that an officer blocked a reporter from following Flake up an escalator into the Capitol. “Flake was famously confronted in a Senate elevator by protesters during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.”
Senate kills second attempt to amend impeachment trial rules
4:34 p.m. MST
On another party-line vote, 53-47, senators tabled the second attempt to amend impeachment trial rules. The amendment would have allowed the Senate to subpoena State Department records.
Now, they will debate and vote on a third amendment to subpoena records from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
First amendment to impeachment rules killed on party-line vote
2:43 p.m. MST
The first attempt by Senate Democrats to amend rules governing impeachment trial is killed on 53-47 party-line vote.
Smart money is on Sen. Lindsey Graham to break rule of silence
2:27 p.m. MST
If you’re wondering why attorneys and not senators are doing all the talking, it’s because rules won’t allow senators to speak.
At the beginning of session of trial, the sergeant-at-arms advises senators to remain silent, “on pain of imprisonment.”
Sen. Mike Lee told KSL-radio his colleagues have placed bets on who will break the speaking rule first. “There’s a lot of money on Lindsey Graham,” Lee said.
Read more on Lee’s interview here.
President’s counsel: ‘It’s very difficult to sit here and listen to Mr. Schiff’
1:37 p.m. MST
“It’s very difficult to sit here and listen to Mr. Schiff.” White House Counsel Pat Cipillone repeated that phrase a few times during his rebuttal, defending proposed Senate rules for the impeachment trial.
He accused House Democrats of trying to steal the 2016 and 2020 elections and noted the Democratic senators who would prefer to be campaigning in Iowa.
“I could go on and on, but my point is very simple: It’s long past time we stop this charade and go have an election,” he said, closing his rebuttal.
What’s the most important decision senators will make during the impeachment trial?
1:25 p.m. MST
California Congressman Adam Schiff, lead House manager prosecuting the impeachment case, said the most important decision senators will make during the impeachment trial won’t be whether to convict or acquit the president.
“I believe the most important decision you will make in this case is the one you will make today,” Schiff said arguing against the proposed rules of the trial. “The question you must answer today is, will the president and the American people get a fair trial?”
Some last minute changes made to Senate trial rules
1:11 p.m. MST
When the clerk read the contested resolution that lays down rules for the Senate impeachment trial, a couple of changes were noted.
Instead of two days, House managers and the president’s team will be given three days to present their cases.
Also, the House impeachment proceedings will be entered as evidence after prosecutors and defense present their cases and argue over what can and can’t be admitted as evidence.
Romney says Democrats crying wolf too often
10:26 a.m. MST
He played down modifications in the proposed rules for the Senate impeachment trial that are different from the rules governing the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton, calling them modest.
Former Sen. Orrin Hatch says McConnell can guide Senate in “fair and judicious manner.”
10:20 a.m. MST
Former Sen. Orrin Hatch released a statement today, harkening back to his role in the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton and expressing confidence in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the impeachment trial of President Clinton, I came to appreciate the gravity and magnitude of the Senate’s duty under the Constitution ‘to try all impeachments,’” Hatch wrote. “This is a solemn responsibility that requires prudence and restraint from all parties involved. I trust my former colleagues to act accordingly — and I have every confidence in the Majority Leader’s ability to guide these proceedings in a fair and judicious manner.”
White House and House impeachment managers trade accusations of ‘rigged’ process.
8:40 a.m. MST
House managers, the Democratic lawmakers who are prosecuting the impeachment case against Trump, criticized the proposed rules governing the trial that the Senate is expected to vote on today.
“A White House-driven and rigged process, with a truncated schedule designed to go late into the night and further conceal the President’s misconduct, is not what the American people expect or deserve,” the managers said in a statement released this morning.
In a filing Monday, Trump’s defense team leveled a similar accusation at House Democrats: “The Articles themselves —and the rigged process that brought them here — are a brazenly political act by House Democrats that must be rejected.”
The filing echoed statements from House Republicans during the House proceedings that resulted in two articles of impeachment approved on a near party-line vote last month.
Ad campaign launched reminding Romney about witnesses
8 a.m. MST
Washington isn’t the only place where pressure is on for the Senate to have witnesses testify in the impeachment trial. A $1 million ad campaign has been launched in Utah and several other states to remind GOP Sen. Mitt Romney and others that former national security adviser John Bolton has offered to testify if subpoenaed.
Here’s what the sponsors say is a mock-up of the billboard on I-15 at 3900 South:
The ads are paid for by Republicans for the Rule of Law, whose director is conservative political analyst and commentator Bill Kristol. “For the Senate to reach a fair verdict and for the American people to get to the truth, it’s vital that all the facts come out,” he said in a press release announcing the campaign.
Romney is among a small group of GOP senators who are open to hearing from witnesses after opening arguments are heard in the trial that resumes today.
The television ad that will air in Utah on Fox News every weekday “until the Senate allows the testimony of key witnesses” can be seen here.