The Senate trial is officially underway. While today has been set aside to debate the rules of the trial, Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, used his initial time to make an opening statement of sorts. Here are some key excerpts:

“When the Founders wrote the impeachment clause, they had precisely this type of conduct in mind, conduct that abuses the power of office for a personal benefit, that undermines our national security, and that invites foreign interference in the democratic process of an election.  It is the trifecta of constitutional misconduct justifying impeachment.”

“Does the commission of these high crimes and misdemeanors require the conviction and removal of the President? 

We believe that it does, and that the constitution requires that it be so, or the power of impeachment must be deemed a relic, or a casualty to partisan times, and the American people left unprotected against a president who would abuse his power for the very purpose of corrupting the only other method of accountability: our elections themselves.”

And here’s what Schiff said about witnesses:

“Unless this trial is going to be different from every other impeachment trial — or any other kind of trial for that matter — you must allow the prosecution and defense, the House Managers and the President’s lawyers, to call relevant witnesses.  You must subpoena documents the President has blocked, but which bear on his guilt or innocence.  You must impartially do justice as your oath requires.”

Watch Schiff’s full statement above.