On Dec. 18, a majority of members of the House of Congress voted for two articles to impeach President Trump: Article I, Abuse of Power and Article II, Obstruction of Congress. The next step is a Senate trial of President Trump to determine whether the facts support removal of the president from office.

To remove a president, two thirds of members of the Senate must vote for removal – highly unlikely in a Senate with 53 Republicans. But before the trial can proceed, Senate members must vote on the rules which will govern the trial.

Based on impeachment history – President Clinton in the 20th century and President Johnson in the 19th century – the Senate majority leader negotiates the rules with leaders of Senate Republicans and Democrats. A majority of Senate members (51) must then approve these rules. Senate leader Mitch McConnell already stated he is not impartial – regardless of the impartiality oath he must take – and he does not intend to allow additional documents or witnesses to be introduced.

The evidence from the House impeachment hearings is one-sided because President Trump ordered members of his administration to disobey congressional subpoenas for witnesses and documents. Senate Democrats want to introduce administrative documents and witnesses not yet seen or heard. Even President Trump said he wants witnesses. How Senate members vote on these rules will determine whether or not there will be a full and fair trial. How will Sen. Collings vote on these rules?

Paula N. Singer


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