Members of the US Senate convened at the Capitol in Washington for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, kicking off a debate and vote on the structure and rules of the proceedings that concluded in the early hours of Wednesday, as largely expected, with the approval of trial rules presented by Senate majority leader, RepublicanMitch McConnell.
As the third presidential impeachment trial in USA history began in earnest, Trump's chief legal defender argued the Democratic case was a baseless effort to overturn the 2016 election but a top Democratic lawmaker said there was "overwhelming" evidence of wrongdoing.
A marathon session of almost 13 hours featured a setback for Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the President's legal team, exposing a crack in the GOP ranks and the growing political unease over the historic impeachment proceedings unfolding amid a watchful public in an election year.
It is only the third presidential impeachment trial in USA history, coming just weeks before the first primaries of the 2020 election season and as voters are assessing Trump's first term and weighing the candidates who want to challenge him in the fall.
Democrats only need four Republican votes to get their way on the rules.
But Democrats said they forced repeated votes on evidence and witnesses, which extended late into the night, to get Republicans on the record immediately.
"The president's lawyers will finally receive a level playing field, " the Kentucky Republican said, contrasting it with the House impeachment inquiry.
In recent days, House Democrats have said they would continue their impeachment hearings, and some have threatened to impeach the president again.
"The question you must answer today: Will the president and the American people get a fair trial?" he asked.
Even if such a motion fails, Trump is nearly certain to be acquitted by the 100-member chamber, where a two-thirds majority is needed to remove him from office.
Acquitting Trump of the charges or dismissing the charges, however, takes only 51 votes.
McConnell maintains that he based his plan on the rules for the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, with each side getting 24 hours.
Cipollone accused the Democrats of "phony political investigations", against Trump ahead of his November re-election fight. Trump said he was doing his duty to root out corruption.
"They're not here to steal one election, they're here to steal two elections", Cipollone said.
Trump's attorneys, led by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, argued the president did not commit an impeachable offense.
The White House defense team also repeated some false charges.
Mr Trump's legal team argued that in seeking new evidence the House was bringing a half-baked case that would be thrown out in any other court of law.
Schiff is claiming that new evidence House Democrats have received and witnesses that the House did not interview should be part of the Senate impeachment trial.
Televised congressional testimony from a parade of current and former officials who spoke of a coordinated effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens has done little to change support for and against Trump's impeachment.
It is the third time in American history that Senators have to judge the president for "high crimes and misdemeanours" and decide whether he should be removed from office. One, Richard Nixon, resigned in the face of a looming impeachment. When Roberts opened the trial, the chamber hushed as hand shakes and smiles gave way to serious and sober looks on both sides of the aisle.
They include Reps. Doug Collins, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows and Elise Stefanik, all of whom were prominent during the House's impeachment investigation and have made frequent media appearances on behalf of the president.
Shooting at Las Vegas Strip mall leaves multiple people injured
Local news outlets report police are investigating the shooting which has left "multiple people" injured at the Fashion Show Mall. This Sunday, Asuka will take on Becky Lynch for the Raw Women's championship at the Royal Rumble show in Houston, Texas.
Isabel dos Santos now a formal fraud suspect in Angola
In 2013, according to Forbes, her net worth had exceeded $2 billion making her Africa's first female USA dollar billionaire. The next day, a security source confirmed to RIA Novosti that dos Santos had said she has always been a Russian citizen.
Cruise Origin self driving vehicle unveiled
Passengers will like it because it's roomier than a Chrysler Pacifica minivan but $5,000 cheaper per year than owning a vehicle . It stands substantially taller and is virtually a box on wheels, allowing passengers to nearly stand upright when entering.
How Arsenal Transfer News Affect Their Odds to Win?
Other players rumored to be destined for Arsenal include; Sokratis Papastathopoulos, from Borussia Dortmund, and Saul Niguez. If they are rumored to buy an elite player, during the transfer window, they play well which increases the odds of winning.