2020-01-23 18:30:071 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Matt Gaetz (Image source: Public domain)
While there was much difficulty in getting the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump started, and with the votes to determine the rules falling along partisan lines, it's surprising to see that things went better than expected for House Democrats on their first day of opening arguments. A few Republican senators threw some praise around, including one of the president's staunchest allies, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), while also being critical of the impeachment defense team.
No one would have guessed that House Democrats would be hearing praise from Gaetz, but he delivered it nonetheless. It proves that at least he is taking his job seriously and listening to the facts. How it will show in his ultimate vote, though, could be a different story.
House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the other six House managers began their opening arguments on Wednesday, after being denied every single amendment they tried to pass regarding rules for the trial.
Gaetz told Politico that the Democrats made their case to the senators as if it were "cable news" and thought they did great work with their use of multimedia during their presentations.
However, he did not have such nice things to say of Trump's defense team. The congressman said the defense team's case looked like "an eighth-grade book report," then amended it to, "Actually, no, I take that back," stating that an eighth-grader would know how to use PowerPoint and iPads.
Up until now he's been one of Trump's most vocal defenders. He was in there fighting for him throughout the impeachment inquiry that ended with the House voting to impeach the president on two articles: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
This moved the case into the hands of the Senate. Now that Trump was impeached, the Senate needs to vote with a two-thirds majority to either remove him from office or acquit him.
Gaetz wasn't the only one to express that the Democrats did well presenting their case of Trump's guilt throughout Wednesday during opening arguments.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) told reporters that on the first day of opening statements, the news was surprising to many senators. This means they've been voting all this time and sharing their thoughts regarding the lack of evidence against Trump without even knowing what the evidence really was.
"Nine out of 10 senators will tell you they haven't read a full transcript of the proceedings in the House," said Kennedy. "And the 10th senator who says he has is lying."
On Thursday House managers were once again going through their opening statement before the Senate. Each side was given three days to make their case. Initially, it was only two, but some GOP senators were able to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to change his initial plan.
The House managers are trying to lay out Trump's Ukraine scandal methodically, discussing not just the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky but also the aftermath of the apparent coverup of Trump asking his counterpart to conduct investigations into his political rivals and promising to reward him with a White House visit and military aid in return.
Friday will be more of the same, with the House managers finishing up their opening argument and leaving it in the hands of Trump's impeachment defense team for three days. At this point the senators will be able to ask questions of both sides.
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