Impeachment Trial of President Trump Begins

"History will be our final Judge. Will senators rise to the occasion?" With that question from Democrat Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate closed out regular business Tuesday, Jan. 21, preparing to gavel in the first impeachment since Bill Clinton, only the third Senate trial of a President, and the first of the Twitter age.

On CNN, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was calling the Senate plans for a speedy trial without witnesses a sham that would go down in shame, while commenting on Fox, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), one of the President's defense team, said that the facts were with the President, which was why a speedy acquittal was in the cards.

In Washington, the affiliates of ABC, CBS, and NBC, were all going with live special reports, while the Fox affiliate was going with its counter-programming strategy of sticking with syndicated fare while streaming its live news coverage of the trial online.

The gallery was warned of keeping quiet on penalty of imprisonment.

Asked whether the President would be watching the coverage, press secretary Stephanie Grisham said: "He has a full day here in Davos, but will be briefed by staff periodically."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.