The new proposal was closer to the rules for the Clinton trial than his first proposal. But it’s still not exactly the same.
McConnell’s initial proposal for Trump’s trial was to require a vote in favor of admitting evidence. In other words, the default would not have been to admit the evidence.
Under McConnell’s initial proposal, as in the Clinton trial, the House would have 24 hours of Senate time to present its pro-impeachment case and the President’s team 24 hours of Senate time to present its anti-impeachment case.
A motion to dismiss
McConnell’s proposed rules for the Trump trial do not explicitly mention a possible motion to dismiss, though Trump’s lawyers would still be allowed to make one.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrats’ lead impeachment manager, argued that there are key differences between the Trump and Clinton situations that require rules different than the ones McConnell proposed. Schiff called for witnesses and documents to be subpoenaed immediately, not after the arguments from both sides.
Schiff noted that the Clinton White House had, before the Senate trial, turned over thousands of pages of documents, while the Trump White House has refused to turn over documents. And he said that, in the Clinton case, “all of the key witnesses” had already testified before the Senate trial. In this case, he noted, the House was unable to get testimony from important witnesses because Trump did not permit them to testify.
“If we’re really serious about modeling this proceeding after the Clinton trial, the Clinton precedent is one where all the documents had been provided, up front, where all the witnesses had testified, up front, prior to the trial. That is not being replicated by the McConnell resolution — not in any way, not in any shape, not in any form, far from it,” Schiff said.