Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the upcoming Senate impeachment trial is "not a trial in any classic sense," noting that there are senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination and that every member has "obvious" political considerations.

"This is called a trial because there's really, in the Constitution, I think no better thing to call it. But it's a very political process. Five of the so-called jurors, running for president. Not a single Republican in the House convinced that they should vote for either of the articles of impeachment, and a couple of Democrats convinced that they shouldn't vote for the articles of impeachment. ... It's not a trial in any classic sense. It is a political decision to do it. And at the end of the day, every single member of the Senate has considerations that are pretty obvious."

Why it matters: Senators must take an oath to do "impartial justice" before being sworn in for an impeachment trial. Several Republican senators have used the impartiality requirement as an excuse not to discuss impeachment prior to the House vote on Wednesday, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have been open about their intentions to acquit Trump as quickly as possible.

The big picture: A speedy Senate trial is expected to play out after the New Year. McConnell is working in close coordination with the White House and does not plan to call any witnesses.

  • Impeachment votes in the House Wednesday fell largely along party lines, with only a handful of Democratic defections.
  • The Senate is expected to acquit Trump, but Democratic leaders are pressuring McConnell to hold a "fair" trial by calling witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
  • Blunt told CNN that based on what he knows, he does not believe House Democrats made the case for removing Trump from office.

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Harris previews dual role in debut speech: Attacking Trump and humanizing Biden

Sen. Kamala Harris began her first speech as Joe Biden's running mate excoriating President Trump for his "mismanagement" of the coronavirus and scorn for the racial justice movement, before quickly pivoting to how she came to know Biden: through her friendship with his late son Beau.

Why it matters: The debut speech on Wednesday underscored the dual roles that Harris will take on for the rest of the campaign — humanizing Biden during a moment of national crisis and "prosecuting" the case against Trump as a failed president.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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Why it matters: America's two-sided response serves as an X-ray of the country itself — still capable of world-beating feats at the high end, but increasingly struggling with what should be the simple business of governing itself.

Joe Biden introduces Kamala Harris in first joint appearance

Joe Biden formally introduced Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on Wednesday, telling a socially distanced audience in a Wilmington, Del., gymnasium: "I have no doubt that I picked the right person to join me as the next vice president of the United States of America."

Why it matters: Harris is a historic pick for vice president, becoming the first Black woman and first South Asian woman to be named to a major-party U.S. presidential ticket. "Kamala knows how to govern," Biden said. "She knows how to make the hard calls. She is ready to do this job on day one."