Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) allowed a hand-written change to the ground rules for President Trump's impeachment trial, granting House Impeachment managers and Trump's defense team an additional day to make their cases.
The rule change will mean both sides still have 24 hours to present their case, but three days to do so instead of two.
House impeachment inquiry transcripts will also be automatically entered into evidence, as opposed to being subject to a vote at a later point in the trial, according to Bloomberg.
"The Senate’s fair process will draw a sharp contrast with the unfair and precedent-breaking inquiry that was carried on by the House of Representatives," said McConnell in a speech from the Senate floor.
House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), meanwhile, says he'll push to amend the trial rules in order to introduce witnesses and new evidence.
"The McConnell rules seem to be designed by President Trump, for President Trump," he said at a press conference before the trial, calling Republican efforts "a cover-up."
Chuck Schumer complains about the schedule, which may go into "the dark of night."— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 21, 2020
REMEMBER, Adam Schiff conducted 18 depositions from a bunker in the basement of the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/z7gKCX3spw
The trial, with U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, opened with a reading of the resolution and initial statements regarding the rules by Democratic Representative Adam Schiff for the House impeachment managers and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone for the president’s defense team. Check here for live updates on impeachment fight developments Cipollone’s statement in support of McConnell’s resolution was brief, saying the only conclusion “will be the president has done absolutely nothing wrong” and the House has “absolutely no case.” “We respectively ask you to adopt this resolution so we can begin this process,” he said. -Bloomberg
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) spent much of his time discussing how unfair the Senate-GOP had made the trial, saying "I believe the most important decision in this case is the one you will make today -- will the president and the American people get a fair trial?"
Adam Schiff: "I believe the most important decision in this case is the one you will make today. ... Will the president and the American people get a fair trial?"pic.twitter.com/YmfH6ffW0F— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 21, 2020
We suspect most Trump supporters won't consider it a fair trial until Joe and Hunter Biden take the stand, while Democrats really want to hear from John Bolton and other current and former White House notables.
According to a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday, over 75% of Americans say Trump and other administration officials should be invited to testify before the Senate. According to Bloomberg, two other recent polls showed similar results.
Monmouth also found that 57% of Americans feel House managers should be able to introduce new evidence which was not seen during the House impeachment investigations.