Scott Simon, Renee Montagne discussed on Weekend Edition Saturday

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Scott Simon is away I'm Renee montagne on this vote the yeas are two hundred and twenty nine the nays are one ninety eight present is one article two as a doctor on December eighteenth twenty nineteen the house of representatives approved two articles of impeachment against president Donald Trump one for abuse of power and the second for obstruction of Congress more than a month later the Senate impeachment trial began their day here you you here today all persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment Wallace senator United States sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment each side the house impeachment managers and the president's defense team had up to twenty four hours over three days to make their case democratic representative Adam Schiff open the arguments president trump has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self governance his conduct has violated his oath of office and his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law president trump's defense lawyers then got their shot beginning with White House counsel Pat sebelum they're asking you to tear up all of the ballots across this country on your own initiative take that decision away from the American people after sitting silently for more than a week senators then got to ask questions in writing to be read aloud by Chief Justice John Roberts as a matter of law does it matter if there was a quid pro quo is it true that quid pro quos are often used in foreign policy yesterday senators wrangled over the question of calling new witnesses in introducing new documents Democrats argued in favor is this a fair trial without the ability to call witnesses and produce documents the answer is clearly and unequivocally no trumps team only used a sliver of their time to push back I could stand here for a long time I'm not gonna do that I'm just gonna say this they created the record do not allow them to penalize the country and the constitution because it they failed to do their job in the end senators ultimately voted against the measure the gays are forty nine the nays are fifty one the motion is not agreed to later Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the final vote on impeachment will be held next Wednesday and your senior Washington editor and correspondent Ron Elving is with us now good morning Ron good morning Rene and the new normal you must've been up most much of the night it wasn't that bad the Senate finished at about eight o'clock a lately this week we would call that bankers hours yeah that's right it's a big week it coming up Iowa caucuses on Monday state of the union address on Tuesday and then the vote on the articles of impeachment on Wednesday so let's start at the end with the impeachment vote where did the things stand now the Senate is taking the weekend off and the rest of the country is too I believe there's a football game of some kind on Sunday pretty big one looking forward to that then the trial resumes on Monday for four hours of closing arguments after which and this is really what changed last night individual senators may make speeches explaining themselves explaining their thinking and their votes of those speeches will happen on Monday and Tuesday and up until four o'clock on Wednesday when all debate will end and the final vote will happen now those features are not really part of the trial per se they're just senators getting a chance to express themselves after having sat quietly for a couple of weeks and at that time that final vote will require not just a simple majority but a two thirds majority in other words sixty seven votes which would require twenty Republicans to cross the aisle so no one expects that to happen well let's talk about that fifty one to forty nine vote yesterday against the Democrats request to call in additional witnesses and bring in documents you know why couldn't they get more Republicans to cross the aisle there was a great deal of pressure brought to bear both from the leadership and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell runs a very tight ship and from the White House obviously the president's team didn't want John Bolton for example the former national security adviser whose book manuscript has been so much in the news this week to be testifying in this trial testifying on TV it was too much of a potential game changer and the prospect of additional witnesses at all meant the trial would last well into February so it was close on the issue of witnesses because remember that needed only a simple majority not two thirds fifty one votes meant the Republicans only had three votes to spare they did lose to Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah two other Republicans who could have turned the tide turned the other way instead and opposed hearing from witnesses they were Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and which of those two have to say about that quite different explanations really Murkowski said she was just very disappointed with the whole process she thought it'd been way too partisan from the start and you just wanted it to end Alexander in this is quite interesting Lamar Alexander's retiring after this year is not running again so many thought he would feel like a free agent in the end he said he didn't need to hear more witnesses because he was convinced the president did the things he's being accused of he just didn't think those things are serious enough to warrant his removal from office so guilty of something but not guilty of something grave enough for the ultimate punishment well the state of the union address Tuesday night a White House official said the final vote on the articles of impeachment won't interfere with that address but will the address interfere with the vote at all it's hard to imagine it would there do not seem to be a lot of minds that are not made up and look the White House is this is going to be a another state of the union the style the previous ones that have been delivered by president trump and those have been distinguished by how little there like the usual speeches by president trump in this high ceremonial setting he has stuck to the presidential tone and to the teleprompter script and if I could just recall for a moment this is going to be deja vu moment in a way because president Bill Clinton in the midst of his impeachment trial back in nineteen ninety nine gave a state of the union speech and never mentioned the fact that he was being tried on impeachment charges in the Senate at the same time so do we expect from our this president to mention that we don't know and it's possible that he will it would certainly be characteristic of him to tear into some of his critics but on the other hand in the past and in the indications that we've been getting lately from the White House he's not he's not planning on that and they are apparently trying to talk him out of it if he is thinking about doing it okay the Iowa caucuses waiting for months and months for them to finally happen the candidates are probably at Penn cake practices as we speak absolutely you know those pancakes are among the tests that we impose on our perspective president it's not in the constitution but the it does happen these senators although at this point that I think would have to say they were sincerely grateful to be eating pancakes in Iowa just to be out of Washington talking to Iowans again and not sitting in the Senate chamber listening to more hours of presentations from lawyers that is NPR's Ron Elving thanks very much thank you Rene and a.

Coming up next