Impeachment recap: What’s happened so far, and what to expect in a trial

Impeachment recap: What's happened so far, and what to expect in a trial

A recap of developments today:

The U.S. House delivered two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.Seven House members will prosecute the case against Trump.Still not decided: Whether the Senate calls new witnesses. The bulk of the trial will be broadcast on television. But the Senate can shut out public and press at certain points.Four Democratic senators who are running for president will have to set aside some campaign activities.The president’s team expects acquittal after a Senate trial lasting no more than two weeks.Meanwhile, evidence continues to surface: Documents suggest possible surveillance of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch before she was ousted by the Trump administration.

The House delivered two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate in a dramatic procession across the U.S. Capitol for only the third such trial in American history. Trump complained anew of a “hoax,” even as new details emerged about his efforts in Ukraine.

The event moves the impeachment out of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic-run House to the Republican-majority Senate, where the president’s team is mounting a defense aiming for swift acquittal.

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sets the rules for the trial, Trump has given mixed messages about whether he prefers lengthy or swift proceeding, and senators are under pressure with the emerging new evidence to call more witnesses for testimony.

The seven-member prosecution team will be led by the chairmen of the House impeachment proceedings.

Ahead of Wednesday’s session, the House released new records from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, about the Ukraine strategy, including an exchange with another man about surveilling later-fired Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch.

Trump’s trial will be only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and it comes against the backdrop of a politically divided nation in an election year.

McConnell faces competing pressures from his party for more witnesses, from centrists who are siding with Democrats on the need to hear testimony and conservatives mounting Trump’s defense.

McConnell prefers to model Trump’s trial partly on the process used for Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. It, too, contained motions for dismissal or calling new witnesses.

McConnell is hesitant to call new witnesses who would prolong the trial and put vulnerable senators who are up for reelection in 2020 in a bind with tough choices.