Washington: The historic impeachment trial of United States President Donald Trump opened last night as Democrats angrily accused Senate Republicans of seeking a cover-up without witnesses or new evidence. With the US leader facing potential removal from office for abuse of power, his close ally Mitch McConnell laid out ground rules that would block subpoenaing key witnesses or documents while each side makes its case -- potentially crippling prosecutors' arguments. Flexing his solid 53-47 majority, the Republican Senate leader also made clear he would summarily block any Democratic attempts to change his rules.
Adam Schiff, the Leader of the House Impeachment Managers prosecuting Trump, countered that the process makes no sense for a trial and was designed instead to ensure evidence is never heard and Trump is exculpated.
President Trump was impeached on 18th of December by the House of Representatives and formally charged on the floor of the Senate last week with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
It is only the third time a US president has endured an impeachment trial, after Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868. Trump is accused of withholding nearly 400 million US Dollars in military aid for Ukraine's war against Russian-backed separatists, and refusing Zelensky a White House meeting, unless he opened a probe of Biden.