Senate won’t force White House to release documents at heart of Ukraine case

This story will be updated.

The Senate voted Tuesday to block a Democratic bid to subpoena White House emails, memos and other documents related to President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine that is at the heart of the impeachment case against him.

The vote was 53-47 to table the amendment to the trial rules, with Republicans prevailing.

Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly backed off some of his proposed rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, easing plans for a tight two-day schedule and agreeing that House evidence will be included. He acted after protests from senators, including fellow Republicans.

The trial quickly burst into a partisan fight at the Capitol as the president’s lawyers opened arguments in support of McConnell’s plan. Democrats objected loudly to his initial rules, and some Republicans then made their concerns known in private at a GOP lunch.

Without comment, the Republican leader submitted an amended proposal after meeting behind closed doors with his senators as the trial opened. The handwritten changes would add an extra day for each side’s opening arguments and stipulate that evidence from the Democratic House’s impeachment hearings be included in the record.

There is still deep disagreement about calling additional witnesses.

“It’s time to start with this trial,” said White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, the president’s lead lawyer in brief remarks as the proceedings opened in public.

Continue reading for deeper coverage, to view scenes from the impeachment trial and watch video commentary.