Yesterday marked the first of two days of Senator questioning of both the House managers and the President’s legal team in the ongoing impeachment trial.
On today’s Jay Sekulow Live, we discussed the first round of questioning and looked ahead to the next phase of the trial.
We might be, dare I say it, about done. There appears to possibly be a light at the end of the impeachment trial tunnel. It’s impossible to say for sure, but it looks more and more likely that final votes in this trial might occur as early as tomorrow.
If you were watching yesterday, you know that the questioning phase marked a pretty significant shift from what we saw during the opening arguments—during which only one side at a time was permitted to speak. From about one o’clock in the afternoon until about eleven o’clock at night, Senators had to actually write their questions down on cards. Those cards were then passed up to the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, who then read them. The party that the question was addressed to then had up to five minutes to respond, and sometimes the questions were addressed to both sides. There was eight hours of back and forth, with a total of more than ninety questions. There will be another eight hours of questions today, after which the question and answer phase will be complete.
Tomorrow is going to be a very critical day. The Senate is going to debate for four hours, and then vote on whether or not to call additional witnesses. Remember, there were seventeen public witnesses in the House. There was also an eighteenth witness whose testimony remains private. The question will be whether or not to call additional witnesses in the U.S. Senate, and whether to also seek additional documents. It will be a very crucial point in this trial.
There are two ways that this trial could proceed. If additional witnesses are called, it could become a very long process. Or, if no additional witnesses are called, it could quickly come to an end and a final vote.
ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, acting in his private capacity as Counsel to the President, explained yesterday on the floor of the Senate why calling witnesses would be a very long process:
It would take a long time just to get through those motions. But there have been 17 witnesses. We’re talking about, now, additional witnesses that the managers have put forward, and that Democratic leader Schumer has discussed. He’s discussed four witnesses in particular if this body . . . were to grant witnesses, would say, yes, you get those four witnesses.
And the White House and the President’s counsel gets what? Whatever I want. That’s what he said? Whatever I want? Here’s what I want. I want Adam Schiff. I want Hunter Biden. I want Joe Biden. I want the whistle-blower. I want to also understand there may be additional people within the House Intelligence Committee that have had conversations with that whistle-blower. By the way, if we get anybody we want, we will be here for a very long time.
If additional witnesses are not called—if the Senate has decided they have heard enough and they are ready to make a decision—the Senate could move to a final vote as early as tomorrow.
You can listen to the entire episode with analysis of the events of yesterday’s questioning during the impeachment trial by ACLJ Director of Policy Harry Hutchison and me, here.
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