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Mo Brooks calls for Federal Rules of Evidence to be used in Senate impeachment trial

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) on Thursday joined eight other conservative House members in sending a letter to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging them to adopt the Federal Rules of Evidence for the Senate’s eventual impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

The House on Wednesday evening impeached Trump on two separate articles alleging “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.” No Republicans voted to impeach the president, and three Democrats even broke with their party by standing against impeachment.

The next procedural step before the Senate can hold an impeachment trial is for the House to pass a measure approving impeachment managers — essentially the House’s prosecutors. The soonest that can happen is January 7, as the House on Thursday afternoon adjourned until then. After managers are approved, the House must then officially deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Chief Justice Roberts will preside over the trial in the Senate, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The Senate may adopt its own guidelines for how the trial process will be conducted.

In a statement, Brooks outlined, “The best way for the American people to discern the truth about impeachment is by using evidentiary standards developed by our judicial system over the past two centuries. The Federal Rules of Evidence, used in all federal courtrooms, generally excludes hearsay, gossip, rumor, opinions and otherwise irrelevant evidence from consideration for one simple reason: history has revealed that such evidence is unreliable and makes it harder for judges and juries to determine the truth of a matter. The House’s impeachment proceedings have been devoid of evidentiary standards. The Senate should and can do better.”

“In America, everyone has the right to a fair trial— presidents included,” he continued. “The formal adoption of the Federal Rules of Evidence would give Chief Justice Roberts a clear-cut standard for deciding admissibility of evidence during the Senate impeachment trial.”

“An impeachment trial is as consequential as it gets in America’s political system. There is simply no room for bad, misleading or otherwise weak evidence our judicial experts know, from experience, should never be considered. Chief Justice Roberts and the Senate should adopt the Federal Rules of Evidence and exclude substandard evidence from consideration during the impeachment trial,” Brooks concluded.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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