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Senate approves Trump impeachment trial plan, rejects Democrats on documents, witnesses

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate voted early on Wednesday on party lines to approve the rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, rejecting Democratic efforts to obtain evidence and ensure witnesses are heard, Reuters reports.

Trump was impeached last month by the House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival, and impeding the inquiry into the matter. The president denies any wrongdoing.

After U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts convened the proceedings, the two sides began more than 12 hours of squabbling that lasted into Wednesday morning over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed rules for the trial.

Senators voted along party lines, 53-47, to block four separate motions from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to subpoena records and documents from the White House, the State Department, the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

The trial will resume on Wednesday with arguments by the prosecution, to be followed by the defence and questions.

Trump is the third US president to undergo an impeachment trial.

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