Trial proceeded by months of anticipation and political posturing
WASHINGTON, D.C. (KYMA, KECY) - House managers and the President's lawyer began day 1 of the impeachment trial with a clash over the rules.
NBC's Alice Barr has more on the war of words.
The lead-up to this moment has been months in the making. We thought we knew what would happen today - but there was a surprising change, and it turned out to be a small victory for Democrats.
Months after the battle lines were drawn, on Tuesday the first shots were fired in the impeachment trial of President Trump.
"The President has done absolutely nothing wrong." said Pat Cipollone, White House Counsel for President Trump.
"He would hide graphic evidence of his dangerous misconduct." said Representative Adam Schiff, (D) California, one of the House Impeachment Managers.
The two sides squared off over trial rules. Democrats say they appear to be designed by the President for the President's benefit.
"By President Trump for President Trump. It asks the Senate to rush through as fast as possible and makes getting evidence as hard as possible." said Senator Chuck Schumer, (D) New York, the Senate Majority Leader.
In the midst of fierce partisanship, a rare, although modest, compromise. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R) Kentucky, agreed to give the two sides three days to present their case. That's instead of the original two, which would have pushed arguments late into the night.
McConnell still wants separate votes, held at a later date, on whether to include the evidence gathered in the House Impeachment Inquiry, and whether to allow new witness testimony.
"You will not have any of the evidence the President continues to conceal throughout most or all of the trial. And although the evidence against the president is already overwhelming, you may never know the full scope." said Congressman Schiff.
The man at the center of the storm spending the day outside the country. The President spoke from the World Economic Summit in Switzerland.
"It's a witch hunt that's been going on for years. And it's frankly - it's disgraceful." insisted President Trump.
Senators will play an unusual role as silent spectators on their own floor. They're forbidden from speaking about the case, and even have to submit questions in writing.