Of Trump’s eight lawyers in the impeachment trial, many specialize in showmanship.

On Tuesday, the Senate will begin the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the third Presidential impeachment in U.S. history. The House has charged Trump with abusing Presidential power and obstruction of Congress, and, last week, when senators were sworn in as jurors, they took an oath to be “impartial” in their judgment of the evidence presented to them. But that impartiality, Susan Glasser writes, seems like a political impossibility. “Three years into Trump’s tenure, there is precisely no one in the U.S. Capitol who is undecided about the President, on the subject of his impeachment or any other.” Conventional wisdom says the outcome of the trial is a predetermined acquittal—that there’s no way that sixty-seven members of the Republican-controlled Senate would vote to remove the President from office. Still, there is plenty of suspense surrounding the proceedings.

One open question, set for a vote on Tuesday, is simply how the trial will proceed. In impeachment trials, the senators serve as jurors, but they also set the rules. It’s not yet clear how much time each side will have to make its argument, or whether the House managers that Nancy Pelosi appointed to make the case against Trump will be allowed to call witnesses. On Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laid out a resolution that gives each side a total of twenty-four hours, allotted over the course of two days, to deliver its arguments. Democrats have complained that, with the trial starting at one o’clock in the afternoon, such a rule would push the debate late into the night. The resolution also states that a majority of senators would have to agree to each witness or document before it could be presented, placing an obstacle in the way of potential evidence. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he intends to propose amendments to the resolution that would change the rules of the trial, and called McConnell’s version “a national disgrace.”

And then there is the question of Trump’s legal team, which includes Kenneth Starr, who became a household name when he investigated Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Alan Dershowitz, who was a member of O. J. Simpson’s defense team. Of Trump’s eight lawyers, many specialize in showmanship. Jeffrey Toobin writes that the team itself raises interesting questions. “How can we not wonder how Starr, who inveighed against what he called the dishonesty of the Clintons, will contrive to defend this President? What will Dershowitz, a onetime liberal and a civil libertarian, say about his new client, who is openly hostile to the values enshrined in the Bill of Rights?”

Watch as the senators begin their debate over the process and hear the opening arguments in the live stream above.

Sourse: newyorker.com

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