© 2021 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Donald Trump is the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. In 2021, he was impeached for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection in the attack on the U.S. Capitol. In 2020, he was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to a phone call made to the president of Ukraine.

What Day 1 Of Impeachment Sounded Like


Shortly after noon on this cold and bright Tuesday in Washington, President Trump's impeachment trial began. First, some tradition and ceremony - Senate Chaplain Barry Black opened the trial with a prayer.


BARRY BLACK: Lord, as our senators prepare to gather for today's impeachment trial, we declare that you alone are our hope. We pray in your mighty name. Amen.


And then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the significance of the task before the Senate.


MITCH MCCONNELL: Last Thursday, the United States Senate crossed one of the greatest thresholds that exists in our system of government. We began just the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. This is a unique responsibility, which the framers of our Constitution knew that the Senate and only the Senate could handle. Our founders trusted the Senate to rise above short-term passions and factionalism. They trusted the Senate to soberly consider what has actually been proven and which outcome best serves the nation.

CHANG: But it didn't take long for things to turn political, with the majority leader saying the Senate process would be in sharp contrast to the, quote, "unfair and precedent-breaking" impeachment inquiry of the House of Representatives.


MCCONNELL: Here in the Senate, the president's lawyers will finally receive a level playing field with the House Democrats, and we'll finally be able to present the president's case. Finally, some fairness.

SHAPIRO: But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, argued that the Senate trial was being rigged in favor of the president.


CHUCK SCHUMER: The McConnell rules seem to be designed 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.

CHANG: And this was only the beginning. The Senate still has to come to terms on the rules that will guide the trial going forward. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.