Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the impending impeachment trial. The article is a summation of things to keep in mind as the trial progresses. Please follow the link to read the entire article. I will try to hit some of the high points here.
The article reports:
1. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced that the trial itself will begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The Clinton impeachment took five weeks, and Johnson’s lasted 11 weeks. The Senate’s impeachment trial rules, adopted in 1986, mandate that the trial should begin at noon and last until the Senate decides to adjourn, Monday through Saturday, “until final judgment shall be rendered.”
2. When the trial begins, the Senate will adopt a resolution establishing the specific timetable, including the time allotted for each side to present its case, senators to ask questions, and the Senate to consider motions.
At that point, if the Senate follows the general pattern of the Clinton trial, the Senate will vote on a motion to dismiss the impeachment and, if that motion fails, on whether additional witnesses or evidence should be considered.
During Johnson’s impeachment trial, the prosecution and defense called a total of 41 witnesses. During the Clinton trial, three witnesses provided videotaped testimony.
McConnell and several other Senate Republicans have indicated they think the Senate should rely on transcripts of the testimony of witnesses who appeared before the House, while Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and several other Democrats have demanded that witnesses be called to testify.
3. Clinton likewise did not appear before the Senate during his trial.
Trump previously indicated he would “strongly consider” testifying or providing a written statement to the House during its impeachment inquiry, but that didn’t happen. Odds are, Trump won’t be present at the Senate trial.
4. Similarly, the rules of evidence used in criminal trials do not apply in an impeachment trial. The Senate’s impeachment trial rules state that the Senate’s presiding officer has the authority to rule on questions of evidence.
Any senator, however, may ask that the full Senate vote on such matters. That reflects the Constitution’s assignment to the Senate of “the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”
5. There have already been calls for the House managers to move to disqualify senators whose impartiality is in question. There is no basis in the Constitution, Senate rules, or history for such an attempt.
The only qualification for participating in a Senate impeachment trial is to be a senator.
6. Removal from office is automatic upon conviction, and the Senate may vote separately whether to disqualify the defendant from serving in any other federal office.
The Constitution explicitly provides, however, that these consequences by the Senate do not, if the defendant’s conduct is also criminal, prevent “Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”
7. In theory, he likely could be retried in the future. Although neither the Constitution nor Senate rules address this issue, and no precedent exists for it, a few legal scholars, such as former Obama administration official Neal Katyal, have pointed out that the Fifth Amendment Double Jeopardy Clause does not apply to impeachment proceedings.
8. Senate committees may hold hearings in the morning of each trial day, but doing any business such as sending bills, nominations, or other matters to the full Senate would require the consent of all senators.
The Senate impeachment rules provide that the chamber must suspend its legislative and executive business while the trial is under way.
One thing to consider in all of this is that the House of Representative’s evidence was generally hearsay evidence. Because impeachment does not follow the rules of evidence, it is possible that some of that evidence will be introduced. However, do Senators really want to go back to their districts to say that they voted for impeachment because a witness ‘felt’ that the President was thinking something that might have been against the law? Realistically, we also need to realize that there is an element of the Democrat party that will continue to do everything it can to destroy President Trump and his agenda regardless of what happens in the impeachment trial. At some point you have to wonder why successful economic and foreign policies are such a threat to the Democrat party.