President of the United States, Donald Trump. / Photo: AP
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez
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Leer en español: Todo sobre el juicio político contra Trump
On Tuesday, January 21, the impeachment began against the US president and the Senate will have the next few days to decide whether to dismiss or acquit him.
The process that has led Democrat Nancy Pelosi has finally reached the United States Senate where congressmen will decide the future of the current president, Donald Trump.
Despite the efforts of the House Democrats, the final decision is expected to be to acquit Trump, since the majority in the Senate is Republican, the president's party. Therefore, the process prior to the start of the trial was full of divisions between the leaders of both parties; each one seeks to make a judgment that favors each decision.
From there, the start day of the 'impeachment' was clouded by accusations against Republicans to try to take a “rigged” process to favor the president to get acquitted. The main difference between both parties was the need that the Democrats see because there is presence of the most important witnesses to give their version of the facts. For their part, Republicans are in search of a quick and short trial in which there is no oral testimony.
In general terms, the accusations against Donald Trump have to do with the use of his political power for a case outside his presidential office. According to investigators who took the case to the House of Representatives, Trump used pressure with the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, who is supposed to be his strongest opponent for reelection. If true, it would be obstructing justice and, as Chuck Schumer, leader of the Senate Democrats said, "if proven, the president's actions are crimes against democracy itself."
According to Univision, “Democrats seek to declare Mick Mulvaney, interim chief of staff of the White House, John Bolton, former National Security expeller abruptly expelled by Trump in September 2019, and other aides and assistants to the president who had knowledge or they were involved in Trump’s pressure campaign in Ukraine. ” To boost this, Chuck Schumer said that witnesses could both frame and exonerate, but that they have to be allowed to speak: "They are not Democrats, they are assistant to the president appointed by him," he said.
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On the contrary, Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, proposed the day before starting the trial that two days of 12 hours each were held in which both the prosecutors responsible for the investigation in the House of Representatives and the White House defense exposed all its evidence. Being a majority in the Senate, McConnell managed to get support so that his plan would be the one that will be used in the following days.
The first day of debate consisted of 5 hours in which both banks discussed the rules of the game for the next few days. Among them, McConnell yielded to extend to 24 hours for each bench to present their evidence. Likewise, evidence will be accepted by the Chamber, but the possibility that there is a vote against it will be left open. Following the lines proposed by the Republican senator, it is likely that the votes will be known before the month of February begins.
It is expected that on Wednesday, January 22, the arguments of the parties will begin, where the Democrats will continue trying to have witnesses present.
Following this start, the documents and evidence will be presented and the initial arguments of both parties will be followed. After this, the senators will have the possibility to present their doubts and arguments. Finally there will be a vote in which it will be decided if more evidence is needed or, otherwise, the final vote in which President Trump may be acquitted of the crimes he is trying to prove or, on the contrary, will be dismissed.
According to CNN, this will be the process tentatively:
Wednesday: Democrats' arguments
Thursday: arguments of the Democrats
Friday: arguments of the Democrats
Saturday: Trump team arguments
Monday: Trump team arguments
January 28: Trump team arguments
January 29: questions from senators
January 30: questions from senators
January 31: Four hours of debate on whether to cite witnesses and subpoenas, a vote on witnesses and documents, and a vote on other motions. If all the votes are rejected, the Senate could go to the absolute vote.
Senators must comply with a series of general rules during the days of the trial:
They can't talk
They cannot use cell phones or any electronic device, only during breaks
Obey the protocols
Vote from your designated desk