Senate question-answers Trump impeachment trial, day 2: live updates

Senate question-answers Trump impeachment trial, day 2: live updates

  • On Thursday, the Senate will wrap up a 16-hour period of submitting written questions to prosecutors and defense lawyers in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
  • Democrats focused their questions on the need to call more witnesses in Trump’s trial, particularly the former national security adviser John Bolton. Republicans focused on trying to exonerate the president of wrongdoing and arguing against calling more witnesses.
  • All eyes are on a few Republican senators who could be swing votes in the motion to call witnesses: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah.
  • Scroll down to watch the trial and follow Insider’s live coverage.
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On Thursday, senators will wrap up a 16-hour period of submitting written questions to the prosecution and the defense in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The question-and-answer period comes after six marathon days of opening arguments from House impeachment managers — who act as prosecutors in the president’s trial — and Trump’s defense team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal defense attorney Jay Sekulow. 

After the defense rested its case on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the 16-hour question period would be spread out over two days, and encouraged Senators to keep their questions “thoughtful” and “brief.”

The House of Representatives impeached Trump last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Both charges related to his efforts to coerce Ukraine into launching politically motivated investigations targeting former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic frontrunner, his son Hunter, and the Democratic Party as a whole.

While doing so, the president withheld $391 million in vital military aid to Ukraine, as well as a White House meeting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately sought and still hasn’t gotten. 

During the first day of the question-and-answer, senators quizzed prosecutors and defense lawyers about the merits of impeaching Trump and whether there was a basis for his removal from office.

Democratic senators focused on the unprecedented nature of a Senate impeachment trial with no witnesses and asked House managers to highlight the charges against the president. They zeroed in on the fact that Trump was not interested in corruption in Ukraine before Biden started running for office, and on the fact that over a dozen witnesses have so far testified to the president’s misconduct.

Republicans, meanwhile, focused on drawing hypothetical scenarios to try and prove that Biden inappropriately intervened in an investigation into Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian natural gas company whose board employed Biden’s son, Hunter, until last year. (There is no evidence to support the theory that the vice president improperly tried to influence the investigation.)

Some Republican senators also tried to use their questions to reveal the identity of the whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry. But Chief Justice John Roberts, who reviewed the questions beforehand, made it clear that he would not read aloud any question that named the individual who filed the whistleblower complaint against the president.

On Thursday, Democratic senators will likely use their time to help House managers make a compelling case to call John Bolton, the former national security adviser, to testify in the trial. Republicans will likely use their time to try to exonerate the president and argue that the Senate doesn’t need to call more witnesses because Congress has all the evidence it needs.

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