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The start of the trial would be without witnesses. As reported by NBC:
We have the votes once the impeachment trial has begun to pass a resolution — essentially the same as, very similar to, the 100-to-nothing vote in the Clinton trial," McConnell told reporters.
The announcement by McConnell means that once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., transmits the two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — the trial would begin in the Senate with rules in place under which the question of whether witnesses are allowed to testify would not be dealt with until later in the trial.
The first phase of the trial would include "arguments from prosecution, arguments from defense" and a "period of written questions" submitted by Republican and Democratic senators, McConnell said.
Only after that phase would "the issue of calling witnesses" be addressed, as it was during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial 20 years ago.
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