As the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump begins in earnest at 1 p.m., Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to make it as speedy as possible — with days that could run 12 hours or more.
Look for very cranky senators. Under the four-page ground rules McConnell's office released at 5:47 p.m. yesterday, senators face marathon sessions during a bitterly fought constitutional process with political risk for all.
Senators didn't make dinner plans this week, and expect to be in the chamber until the early morning hours on several days, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.
With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, the cellphone ban on the Senate floor, increasingly overlooked in recent years, is expected to be enforced.
Each day will begin with the archaic proclamation: "All persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment."
Today is all about procedural fights: Democrats will try to force the Senate to allow new witnesses and documents.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called McConnell's roadmap "deeply unfair": "Any senator that votes for the McConnell resolution will be voting to hide information and evidence from the American people."
Here's McConnell's plan:
The Senate will vote today on rules for the trial.
Opening arguments start tomorrow. House Democratic managers and Trump's defense team will each be given up to 24 hours over two days.
Senators will then have 16 hours to submit their questions to Roberts.
After the Q&A period, the Senate will vote on whether to consider and debate witness subpoenas.
If the Senate votes yes, each side can move to subpoena witnesses.
Ultimately, the Senate will vote on whether to convict the president and remove him from office.
What we learned in the halls: Last week's Government Accountability Office report accusing Trump of violating the law by holding up funds to Ukraine is "a big part" of Democrats' case, a leadership aide told Treene and Axios' Jonathan Swan.
The key argument Trump's legal team plans to make is that the articles of impeachment are deficient on their face because they don’t allege that Trump broke the law.
But Democrats plan to highlight the report from the nonpartisan congressional watchdog, which said the administration violated federal law.
Catch up quick: All day, Axios.com will be topped by a constantly updated "smart screen" narrating what's happening and why, and capturing the most insightful reaction.
Go deeper: Read McConnell's 4-page organizing resolution.
The only halfway decent/semi normal ones are retired or otherwise in the wilderness.
When all the Trump shit comes out - and this will ONLY all come once he's gone - the GOP is gonna take some hits. You wonder if this will open up a third party on the right (long term) if people just associate the GOP with the most criminally insane president ever and fuck them electorally in the late 2020s and 2030s