The Senate plunged into President Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans abruptly abandoning plans to cram opening arguments into two days but solidly rejecting Democrats' demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s "trifecta” of offenses. The daylong session started Tuesday with the setback for Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the president's legal team, but it ended near 2am Wednesday with Republicans easily approving the rest of the trial rules largely on their terms, the AP reports. The result is Trump's historic trial, unfolding amid a watchful public in an election year. The trial is now on a fast-track with almost no signs of Republican resistance to the actions that led to his impeachment.
Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled open the session, with House prosecutors on one side, Trump's team on the other, in the well of the Senate, as senators sat silently at their desks, under oath to do "impartial justice." After one particularly bitter post-midnight exchange, Roberts intervened, taking the rare step of admonishing both the Democratic House managers prosecuting the case and the White House counsel to “remember where they are." Over and over, Republicans turned back Democratic amendments to subpoena documents from the White House, State Department, Defense Department, and budget office. By the same 53-47 party-line vote, they turned away witnesses with front-row seats to Trump's actions, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton, the former national security adviser critical of the Ukraine policy. (Read more Trump trial stories.)