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McConnell Loosens Rules as Impeachment Trial Starts - Page 2

Each side will now get 3 days to make its case, instead of 2
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2020 11:45 AM CST
Updated Jan 21, 2020 7:07 PM CST

  • Trump weighs in: While in Davos, Switzerland, the president called the impeachment process a "total hoax," reports NBC News. "It's a witch hunt that's been going on for years and it's, frankly, it's disgraceful," the president told reporters. Later, he tweeted, "READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!"
  • His attorney: In a brief opening statement Tuesday, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said the president did nothing wrong. “We believe that once you hear those initial presentations, the only conclusion will be that the president has done absolutely nothing wrong."
  • Silence: Senators can't bring cell phones or other electronic devices into the Senate chamber during the trial, reports CNN. Not only that, but they can't talk, period, while presentations are being made. It will "be a new experience for a lot of my colleagues (to) not be able to talk and not be able to consult our email or text messages," says GOP Sen. John Cornyn. "But we'll live through it." He adds: "It's obviously a very serious and grave matter so we should be paying attention." CNN notes there are rumors some senators may be wearing Apple watches on the floor.
  • "Remarkably like seventh grade": Later in the day, CNN noted some senators appeared "restless" while others were taking copious notes in an effort to keep busy; still later, the news organization noted senators could be seen passing notes to each other, breaking the rules by whispering to each other and sometimes even laughing, chewing gum, sharing candy, absentmindedly clicking pens to the annoyance of their colleagues, yawning, and even, in some cases, apparently nodding off briefly. It compared the atmosphere, at times, to "remarkably like seventh grade" and the senators to "bored students in a particularly long lecture."
  • No Bolton? It remains up in the air whether Democrats will be able to force witnesses to testify. But even if they can, don't expect John Bolton to appear. The former national security adviser says he would be willing to do so, but Trump's legal team and Senate Republicans are working to make sure that doesn't happen no matter what, reports the Washington Post. Trump would invoke executive privilege, and the White House might go to the federal courts to make sure Bolton complies.
(Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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