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Day 2 of Impeachment Trial: Schiff Talks, Trump Tweets

House managers led by Adam Schiff begin their opening arguments
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2020 12:26 PM CST
Updated Jan 22, 2020 5:27 PM CST

(Newser) – Democratic Sen. Jon Tester described the first day of President Trump's impeachment trial, which clocked in at nearly 13 hours, as "like sitting on a tractor," reports NBC News. And it's back on the tractor today: With the rules for the trial now set, House managers led by Rep. Adam Schiff on Wednesday started their opening arguments. They have up to 24 hours, spread over three days, to make their case. Schiff spoke first and began by quoting Alexander Hamilton, who warned of a future leader whom Hamilton described as "a man unprincipled in private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits, despotic in his ordinary demeanor, known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty."

  • Hamilton and the other founding fathers created impeachment as a protection against such a president, said Schiff, who spoke of taking "this solemn action, for only the third time in history, because Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, has acted precisely as Hamilton and his contemporaries feared."
  • AP White House reporter Zeke Miller tweeted that the White House busily emailed responses to Schiff, citing "7 in last 45 min," among them, "President Trump Has Been Completely Transparent with the American People."
  • CNN notes some of the talking points to come out of the White House invoked Hamilton too: "Our founding fathers feared that impeachment would be abused as a partisan tool—rather than the grave remedy it was intended to be. Hamilton and Jefferson warned about a majority using impeachment for political purposes."

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  • Prior to entering the Senate chamber, Schiff spoke with reporters and gave a broad outline of today's plan, per the Washington Post: "We will begin our trial with the factual chronology. The facts are damning. We're going to lay them out in great detail in our chronology today." He spoke for 2.5 hours and said the six other House impeachment managers (Jerry Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow and Sylvia Garcia) would each present a portion of the opening arguments.
  • As Schiff spoke, Trump tweeted from Air Force One, writing in quotation marks, "NO PRESSURE," an apparent reference to his dealings with the Ukraine.
  • In regards to the president's Ukraine call, Schiff had this to say: "The counsel for the president would like you to think this is just about that call ... They don't want you to look at the months that went into preparing for that call, or the months of pressure that followed."
  • CNN notes Schiff also dismissed the idea of allowing witnesses Democrats want to hear from in exchange for also allowing witnesses the GOP wants (ie, John Bolton and Hunter Biden, respectively). "This isn't a fantasy football trade," he said, panning the idea of "offer[ing] a witness irrelevant and immaterial with no relevant testimony but a witness that allows us to smear a presidential candidate if you give us a witness. That's not a trade. Trials aren't trades for witnesses." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also later dismissed that idea.
  • As of this posting, Nadler, Garcia, and Crow had taken their turns presenting their portion of the opening statement and Jeffries was up (a protester briefly interrupted the proceedings during Jeffries' remarks). As the afternoon wore on, CNN noted a few senators had abandoned their seats, though some could still be seen in the chamber. Republican Sen. John Cornyn summed things up thusly: "I think we’re already beginning to lose certainly the television audience and maybe the press to some extent, but certainly senators are struggling to try to see why we have to sit there, sit hearing the same arguments over and over and over and over again."
  • CNN and the Guardian also reported senators were seen filling out crossword puzzles, pacing, eating candy, and, in Ben Sasse's case, "shoving unidentified pieces of food into his mouth." Some were also drinking milk: As the site explains, milk and water are the only beverages allowed on the Senate floor during the trial.
(We'll be updating this file throughout the day.)

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