Donald Trump’s impeachment trial began Thursday in high ceremony and amid vicious political division – as outside the Senate a series of new bombshells exploded in the Ukraine scandal.
At 12.05pm, five minutes late, the seven House Democratic impeachment managers arrived at the Senate to formally read the articles of impeachment – and kick off President Trump’s trial.
Chuck Grassley, the president pro tempore of the Senate – the longest-serving member – called the chamber to order and asked the managers to be invited in.
The Senate Sergeant at Arms James Mathers proclaimed: ‘Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment.’
The House of Representatives voted on 19 December along party lines to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for allegedly freezing military aid in order to press Ukraine into probing political rival Joe Biden. Trump has called the impeachment process a “witch hunt” designed to overturn the results of the 2016 election.