Impeachment brief: House presses case while Americans divide over Trump's fate
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Impeachment brief: House presses case while Americans divide over Trump's fate

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Developments so far today:

  • Americans are sharply divided along party lines about whether President Donald Trump should be removed from office, a new national poll says. About 45% want Trump ousted and 40% want him acquitted.
  • The Senate impeachment trial now underway is unlikely to remove Trump. But his legal team doesn't have the votes to get the case dismissed outright.
  • House Democrats opened a marathon argument -- 24 hours over three days -- that Trump abused his office by asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden while withholding crucial military aid.
  • Apparently bored or weary, some senators started openly flouting basic guidelines requiring full attention to the proceedings.
  • Meanwhile, Trump beat his previous record for most Twitter posts in a day, with 132 by 4:45 p.m. EST.

House prosecutors faced fidgeting senators as they rolled out their case against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, the trial's previous session having lasted a fatigue-inducing 13 hours. Trump was busy himself, returning from an international business conference but finding time to send 120-plus tweets that included trial commentary and criticism.

FIDGETY SENATORS: The challenge to House managers was clear, as they tried to win over not just fidgety senators sitting silently in the chamber but a divided American public. Senators were especially restless Wednesday, as lawmakers convened less than 12 hours after the marathon session that stretched to nearly 2 a.m.

Freshman Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., a House impeachment manager, had trouble holding the attention of senators, who by Senate rules were sitting in silence without access to phones or other electronics. Many senators left their seats and headed to nearby cloak rooms, or stood in the back or openly yawned as Crow talked about Trump's hold on military aid to Ukraine. At one point, more than 10 senators' seats were empty.

TRUMP TWEETSTORM: As Democrats presented their case, Trump blasted the proceedings from afar, joking that he would face off with Democrats by coming to "sit right in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces." Trump set a presidential record for activity on his favorite social media platform, sending at least 124 tweets in a single day, according to Factbase, a service that compiles and analyzes data on Trump's presidency.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Democrats will continue arguments through Friday under rules approved by the Senate. Trump's lawyers will then have up to three days to rebut the Democrats' case. Trump's legal team passed on an opportunity Wednesday to file a motion to dismiss the case, an acknowledgement that there were not enough Republican votes to support it.

While polling suggests widespread agreement that Trump should allow top aides and former aides to appear as witnesses at the trial, and some Republicans have expressed openness to new witnesses, it is unclear if four GOP senators will join Democrats to allow new testimony.

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Read on to select deeper coverage of the topics above, and see some photos of activity on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. These stories will update as the trial continues.

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