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Senate leaders set impeachment rules, Trump's attorneys slam trial

Senate leaders set impeachment rules, Trump's attorneys slam trial
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the rules for former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial on Monday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed to the rules for former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, as his legal team slammed the Democratic-led process as an effort to silence a political opponent.

Under the agreed-upon rules, the process will begin Tuesday with four hours divided equally to present arguments on the constitutionality of the trial.

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That will be followed by 16 hours to present their case at trial Wednesday for whether Trump must be held responsible for the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, which occurred while Congress was certifying the Electoral College votes in favor of President Joe Biden.

The rules also allow for senators to question both parties for a total of four hours following the presentations. Additionally, at the request of the impeachment managers, there will be two hours of arguments on whether the Senate will consider motions to subpoena witnesses and documents.

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If witnesses or documents are subpoenaed, the two parties will be allowed to depose witnesses and conduct discovery, followed by four hours of closing arguments divided equally between the two sides.

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"This impeachment trial in the United States Senate will allow for truth and accountability, which are essential to ensuring desperately-needed unity and healing in our country following the despicable attack on our democracy on Jan. 6 that left five people dead," Schumer said.

Trump's legal team also filed a brief on Monday, denying that Trump had a part in inciting the riot and dismissing the trial as motivated by partisan politics.

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"In this country, the Constitution -- not a political party and not politicians -- reigns supreme," the brief said. "But through this latest Article of Impeachment now before the Senate, Democrat politicians seek to carve out a mechanism by which they can silence a political opponent and a minority party.

"The Senate must summarily reject this brazen political act. This rushed, single article of impeachment ignores the very Constitution from which its power comes and is itself defectively drafted," the brief said.

Trump's attorneys, Bruce Castor, David Schoen and Michael van der Veen, said Democrats cobbled together "sensationalized" media reports and comments Trump made on social media over the months to create its article of impeachment.

"The House Managers' compulsion to obfuscate the truth is borne out of an absence of evidence relied upon in their 'Statement of Facts,'" Trump's attorney said in the brief. "As the body vested with the sole power to impeach, the House serves as the investigator and prosecutor. There was no investigation.

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"The House abdicated that responsibility to the media. Of the 170 footnotes in the House Manager's Trial Memorandum, there were only three citations to affidavits of four law enforcement officers and they were merely referenced to support descriptions of what rioters were wearing and weapons that were found," the brief said.

House Democrats said in its first impeachment brief that Trump was solely responsible for the Jan. 6 attack for pushing unproven and baseless claims of widespread voter fraud weeks before the attack, essentially encouraging his supporters to take action Jan. 6.

Republicans have called the proceedings unconstitutional because Trump is out of office and the trial does not serve the purpose of removing him.

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