Impeachment Update: Trial Begins In Senate As Trump Adds Big Names To Legal Team


Matt Spalding, Student Journalist

The first day of closing arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial ended without major breaking news or conflict on Wednesday. 

However, the tension between Democrats and Republicans is as vivid as ever as the trial prevails. 

Democratic impeachment managers spent nine hours on Wednesday presenting their version of events; a version that believes there’s no doubt as to President Trump’s intentions in the Ukraine scandal. Representative Adam Schiff and other prosecutors used nearly 50 video clips from key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry to present their case, as witnesses are yet to be allowed in the proceedings. 

Democrats, however, say they will continue to push for witnesses and apply pressure on GOP lawmakers who have opposed witnesses since the very beginning. Democrats will continue to push for witnesses, like former national security advisor John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, to testify before house managers. President Trump testifying or giving a deposition remains highly unlikely. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi chose seven ‘impeachment managers’ to effectively serve as prosecutors for the Democrats. The notable ones include Rep. Jerry Nadler, chair of the House Judicial Committee, who grew to prominence during the Clinton impeachment, Rep. Adam Schiff, a noted enemy of President Trump, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and has been a central figure in the impeachment inquiry since day one, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who enjoyed a successful career as a lawyer before becoming an elected official. 

The President’s defense team boasts two big names and an array of personal lawyers. Alan Dershowitz, who successfully defended O.J. Simpson during his famous murder trial, joins the team to present the constitutional argument against impeachment. Kenneth Starr, who was independent counsel for the investigation into Bill Clinton and Whitewater, an investigation into the Clinton’s real estate investments that eventually lead to the 42nd President’s impeachment, will also join the team. 

The matchup of Democratic lawmakers who have lead the battle for impeachment since the beginning against Trump’s well known defense lawyers adds a lot of intrigue to something that most people have believed to be set in stone since the beginning; that Trump will be acquitted in the Senate, ending the impeachment proceedings that have lasted since the fall.

Both sides will have 24 hours to present their cases. Arguments for both teams will be split across three days, with Democrats already taking up Wednesday, and planning to spend Thursday and Friday continuing and ending their arguments. Trump’s defense team will take Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to present their side. After that, Senators will ask questions to both legal teams about the proceedings. However, due to the rules that none of the Senators are allowed to speak during proceedings, they will hand write them, then hand them to Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, who is allowed to ask them. 

Although the outcome seems decided, it will not be certain until it is officially determined whether or not witnesses will be allowed in the trial. With witnesses allowed, Democrats will have a lifeline to potentially further implicate Trump and get crucial votes from moderate Republicans. Without witnesses, they don’t have much of a chance in persuading Republicans to switch sides and support removal. 

This all sets up for a very intriguing week and a half; a week and a half that is sure to catch the attention of the nation and finally, once and for all, put impeachment to bed one way or another.