January 24, 2020

Daily Senate Impeachment Trial Update: January 24

This update was compiled and presented by our partners at Hub Action (www.hubaction.org). For the latest on the impeachment from the ACS network, visit our Impeachment Resources page.


  • Vox: Democrats’ opening arguments demonstrate the overwhelming case for impeachment: “The House opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Trump mark the first time lawmakers have explicitly presented the entirety of their evidence about Trump’s handling of Ukraine aid — and thus far, they’ve been nothing short of damning. While the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees have compiled comprehensive reports about what they’ve found during the impeachment inquiry, the trial provided a platform and format they simply haven’t had yet. Over seven hours of painstaking arguments that featured video clips of witness testimony, screen captures of text messages, and excerpts of additional documents, Democratic impeachment managers detailed the facts they had obtained on Wednesday. The story built to one clear takeaway: Trump conditioned $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, along with a White House meeting, on the announcement of investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and alleged election interference.”


  • NBC News: “Democrats on Thursday honed in on their charge that President Donald Trump abused his power, turning to past statements from some of the president's top allies to help make their case on the third day of his Senate impeachment trial. House prosecutors used old comments from Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Attorney General William Barr and Trump impeachment defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz to bolster their argument that abuse of power is grounds to remove a president — and pointed to Trump's own statements to illustrate his guilt.”


  • Politico: House Democrats are trying to shatter President Donald Trump’s defense before it begins. The seven House impeachment managers seeking Trump’s removal from office know they are about to cede the floor to the president’s legal team — perhaps for three full days — as soon as Saturday. So the House managers spent all day Thursday trying to preempt and outflank them. On a day initially billed as a dry recitation of constitutional theory, Democrats instead launched a multimedia barrage featuring the president’s own allies, advisers and even his favored TV network as they tried to undermine his anticipated defense.”


  • AP: “Democratic House prosecutors argued Thursday in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that the president was swept up by a “completely bogus” Ukraine theory pushed by attorney Rudy Giuliani and that led to his abuse of presidential power and then impeachment. As the Democrats pressed their case for a second day before skeptical Republican Senate jurors, they displayed video images of the nation’s top FBI and Homeland Security officials warning the public off the theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election.”


  • CNN: Trump tapes help incriminate the President at his own trial



  • Roll Call: Burr is giving senators fidget spinners to stay busy during trial  |  “The North Carolina Republican is providing an assortment of fidget spinners and other gizmos to his GOP colleagues at this week’s Thursday lunch. Senators have been restless in the hours and hours they’re spending at their desks on the Senate floor during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Dozens at a time have been spotted standing behind their desks, pacing in the chamber and even doing quad and neck stretches.”


  • Washington Post: “Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was seen reading a book Thursday as the House managers made their case… Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) had blue and purple fidget spinners, a toy used to help children keep their attention and not usually used by 64-year-old and 42-year-old senators, respectively.”


  • New York Times: “Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky had a white legal notepad in front of him as Thursday’s impeachment trial began — and he was busy doodling. On the top page, Mr. Paul had created an extensive, and impressive, doodle of the United States Capitol. Drawn with a blue ballpoint pen, the drawing covered the entire bottom third of the paper.”


  • Vox: Republicans complain about the impeachment trial’s lack of new evidence while blocking new evidence


  • Washington Post – Analysis: “Republicans such as Cornyn to try to have it both ways, to oppose the introduction of new material and object to the lack of new material. Especially given the existence of new material. It brings to mind the old joke: ‘The food at that restaurant is terrible, and the portions are so small.’ The evidence at the impeachment trial is uncompelling, we hear — and there’s simply not enough of it.”


  • BuzzFeed: Republicans Blocked Witnesses At The Impeachment Trial, And Now They Say There’s Nothing New


  • Axios: Republicans criticize lack of "new" impeachment information while blocking Democratic subpoenas


  • Vanity Fair: Republicans who blocked impeachment evidence whine they “didn’t hear anything new”


  • Washington Post Column by former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson: “It is another of President Trump’s dubious achievements to turn the ultimate constitutional check on presidential abuses of power into an utter farce. Watching Republican senators complain that there is “nothing new” in the case made by House impeachment managers, while they are actively opposing the introduction of new evidence and new testimony, is confirmation of barefaced bad faith. In this matter, elected Republicans are mainly serving, not the president, and certainly not the republic, but themselves. Having decided that no amount of evidence would be sufficient for conviction, they realize that the presentation of a full and compelling case would convict them of servility and institutional surrender. So a quick and dirty Senate trial is the best way to limit the exposure of their malpractice.”


A new Reuters/Ipsos survey became the latest in a mountain of polling data this week to confirm that the overwhelming majority of Americans expect to see witnesses and new evidence called in the Senate impeachment trial, raising the stakes for vulnerable Republicans.


  • Reuters: Let them speak: Most Americans want witnesses in Trump impeachment trial - Reuters/Ipsos poll  |  “A bipartisan majority of Americans want to see new witnesses testify in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and the public appears to be largely following the proceedings even after a bruising congressional inquiry that lasted several months, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling released Wednesday… The poll showed that Republicans and Democrats want to see people like Bolton and Pompeo tell the Senate what they know about the administration’s policies in Ukraine. About 72% agreed that the trial ‘should allow witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the impeachment charges to testify,’ including 84% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans. And 70% of the public, including 80% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans, said senators should “act as impartial jurors’ during the trial.”


  • Politico: Democrats say White House improperly classifying piece of impeachment evidence  |  “Senate Democrats said a letter from a national security aide to VP Mike Pence that was admitted as evidence in the impeachment trial late Wednesday should be made public before the proceedings against President Donald Trump end… House Democrats sought Pence’s approval to declassify the letter from Pence aide Jennifer Williams last month, claiming it was important evidence in their investigation of allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals. The information, submitted as supplemental testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, relates to Pence’s Sept. 18 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.”


  • The Hill: Schumer urges declassification of letter from Pence aide  |  “Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday called on the White House to declassify and make public a letter from an aide to Vice President Pence that was admitted as evidence in the impeachment trial. ‘I’ve seen the supplemental testimony’ from Pence aide Jennifer Williams, Schumer told reporters during a break in the trial. “I’m not sure it should be classified. I agree with the House managers to declassify it.’”

Executive Power, Separation of Powers and Federalism