The White House ceded a chance to try to swiftly dismiss the case.
The White House on Wednesday passed up a chance to force a vote to dismiss the impeachment charges against President Trump before arguments get underway.
Both the president’s defense lawyers and the House Democratic impeachment managers had until 9 a.m. on Wednesday to offer motions related to the trial, except for ones that would call for witnesses and new evidence, issues that will be dealt with next week. Neither side did so, aides in both parties said.
The White House’s silence was more significant. Though Republican leaders have been discouraging the president’s team from seeking a swift dismissal, Mr. Trump had endorsed the idea and his conservative allies said the Senate ought to vote promptly to do so. A dismissal vote this week would almost certainly have failed to attract a majority of senators, dividing Republicans and dealing Mr. Trump an early symbolic defeat.
A motion to dismiss could still be offered later in the trial. For now, Republican congressional leaders have counseled the White House that it is better politically for the trial to run its course and deliver a full acquittal of the president, rather than cutting it short and enabling Democrats to argue the result is illegitimate.
Trump lashed out from a snowy resort 4,000 miles away.
During an unplanned news conference in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum, President Trump took a break from talking about the economy and lashed out at Democrats back home for impeaching him. He hurled insults at two of the prominent House managers, calling Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Judiciary Committee chairman, a “sleaze bag” and branding Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, who is leading the prosecution, a “con job” and a “corrupt politician.”
Mr. Trump said he would love to attend his own trial — something his lawyers have advised against — so he could “sit right in the front row and stare into their corrupt faces.”
While his legal team spent Tuesday arguing that Democrats’ calls for witnesses were inappropriate and a sign of a weak case, and Mr. Trump himself spent months blocking his advisers from participating in the House impeachment inquiry, the president said on Wednesday that he actually would like them to be able to testify.
“I would rather interview Bolton,” he said, referring to John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser. “I would rather interview a lot of people.”
Mr. Bolton has said he would testify during the Senate trial if he was subpoenaed to do so, and Democrats have demanded to hear from him. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump said, national security — and his own reputation — depends on Mr. Bolton staying silent.
“He knows some of my thoughts, he knows what I think about leaders,” Mr. Trump said. “What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader, and it’s not very positive? And then I have to deal on behalf of the country?”
Mr. Trump, who is often very open about his opinions of people, including world leaders, added: “It’s going to make the job really hard.”
Mr. Trump is expected to return to the White House on Wednesday evening and is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Doral, Fla., on Thursday.
The arguments against Trump will begin this afternoon.
The seven House Democratic impeachment managers will start laying out their case to convict President Trump and remove him from office some time after 1 p.m. today. They have up to 24 hours over a period of three days to persuade senators to convict Mr. Trump and remove him from office. It’s a tall ask for Senate Republicans, who have been expected to acquit Mr. Trump long before the trial even began. Each manager is expected to present a different aspect of the case without interruption from senators, who are sworn to silence.
Mr. Trump’s legal defense team has the same amount of time to present their side and could start presenting their case as soon as the House managers are done. It’s likely that Mr. Trump’s lawyers could spend Saturday presenting their case, based on the Senate impeachment rules which call for the trial to be conducted six days a week, with 1 p.m. start times.
But the clock might not start ticking for the managers at 1 p.m. Wednesday if they or Mr. Trump’s lawyers make any motions. Under the trial rules, the managers and lawyers can make any motions except for a motion to seek documents and witnesses — that will come later.
After each side completes their oral arguments, senators will have up to 16 hours ask questions, which much be submitted in writing. After that, the Senate will reconsider whether to subpoena witnesses or documents.
A late night of partisan voting kicked off the trial.
The first day of the trial lasted until around 2 a.m. Wednesday, as Democrats forced a number of votes seeking to change the rules and insist on new evidence. Democrats said the Republicans had deliberately pushed the debate into the early morning hours when most Americans were sleeping.
“Is this really what we should be doing when we are deciding the fate of a presidency, we should be doing this at the midnight hour?” asked Representative Adam B. Schiff, the lead House manager, said. Mr. Schiff, of California, said he started Tuesday asking whether Americans expect the trial to be fair. “Watching now at midnight this effort to hide this in the dead of night cannot be encouraging to them about whether there will be a fair trial.”
Republicans tried several times without success to get Democrats to drop their demands for changes to the rules and speed the process along, but Democrats refused, forcing 11 votes in a strikingly partisan start to the proceeding. Republicans held together unanimously on almost every vote, blocking subpoenas for witnesses and documents. The Senate will revisit those issues later in the trial.
Chief Justice Roberts will spend the morning at his day job before reporting to the Senate chamber.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning to decide if states have to include religious schools in state scholarship programs.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will preside over the court session, and then head to the Senate for the 1 p.m. start of Mr. Trump’s trial, where he serves a mostly ceremonial role — one that could be perilous for his reputation and that of his court.
Around 1 a.m. Wednesday, Chief Justice Roberts scolded both sides, the one of the impeachment managers, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone for trading insults. Chief Justice Roberts told them to remain civil and “remember where they are.”
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