Congress’ upper chamber will once again fill today with lawmakers tasked with determining whether Trump should be convicted and removed from office over two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
On Dec. 18, Trump became the third-ever U.S. President to be impeached.
Lawmakers said Trump abused his power by withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the announcement of investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s work on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, and into unsubstantiated claims that the country interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The House of Representatives said Trump impeded their investigation by refusing to hand over important documents, and by ordering officials called to testify not to comply with lawful subpoenas.
Trump, though, has denied any wrongdoing, repeatedly calling the impeachment process a “sham” and a “hoax.”
After nearly a month-long standoff, the two articles of impeachment were sent to the Senate last week, setting the stage for the historic trial.
In a marathon session ending near 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Senators approved amended rules that will govern the remainder of the proceedings.
Each side will have 24 hours over three days to make its opening argument, after which senators will have 16 hours to submit questions to each side.
The Democrats’ push to hear from witnesses was voted down 53 to 47.
Trump’s lawyers could move on Wednesday to have the two articles of impeachment dismissed. The Senate is not expected to approve the immediate dismissal of the charges.
At the end of the trial, the chamber will hold a vote on whether to convict and remove Trump from office.
A two-thirds vote is needed in order to oust Trump from his position of commander-in-chief.
–With files from Reuters