By John Nolen
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to offer his organizing resolution designating the rules for the impeachment trial in the Senate on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.
The White House legal defense team and House impeachment managers will be the ones to argue the resolution, not the senators. The White House legal team and the impeachment managers will have two hours equally divided to argue. Senators are not allowed to speak on the floor except to offer motions, offer amendments, or roll call votes.
When the two hours of debate on the resolution is up, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer can offer amendments. Democrats are expected to offer amendments, with at least one amendment related to requesting witnesses and documents. Up to two hours of arguments on the amendments will be equally divided by the White House defense team and the House managers. Senators are not allowed to speak.
McConnell has argued that senators should vote to call witnesses after the White House team and impeachment managers make their opening arguments, but Democrats want to ensure before the opening arguments are given that witnesses will be called later in the trial.
The only time senators can speak or debate on the Senate floor is in closed deliberations. Senators can make a motion to go into closed session at anytime, which can happen with the approval of 51 senators. During a closed session, everyone is removed from the chamber except the senators. However, a number of Senators would prefer the vast majority of the impeachment proceedings to be out in the open.
Tuesday’s session will differ from the debate over the organizing resolution in the Clinton impeachment trial. In 1999, the 100 senators met behind closed doors to deliberate a resolution negotiated by Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott and Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. A bipartisan impeachment organizing resolution was brought to the Senate floor with the support of all 100 senators, and it passed unanimously.
Source CBS News.