WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has officially begun.
Before the debate on impeachment rules even started, Senate Democrats, like Illinois’ Dick Durbin, blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution on how to conduct the process.
“Senator McConnell and those who enable him believe that if they hurry the proceedings, restrict the evidence, limit the witnesses, and force the whole enterprise into the midnight hour, they can conceal misconduct by the president,” Durbin said.
McConnell’s way gives each side 24 hours for opening arguments, spread over three days.
But it also puts off a vote on more witnesses until after opening arguments wrap up.
“Mitch McConnell’s resolution is appalling, and so is the defense being put forward by the White House,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
But attorneys for President Trump argue McConnell’s method is similar to what Democrats supported 20 years ago, when it was President Bill Clinton under impeachment.
“It is modeled on the Clinton resolution, which had a hundred senators supporting it the last time this body considered an impeachment,” said Trump attorney Pat Cipollone.
Yet Durbin said it’s a set up to protect the president.
“This McConnell resolution directly contravenes the rules followed in the Clinton impeachment trial,” he said.
The White House and President Trump’s Congressional impeachment team, including Ohio’s Jim Jordan, said McConnell’s approach protects the president’s right to a fair trial.