Trump Senate Trial Set To Begin As House Delivers Impeachment Article
Donald Trump, the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, will now become first president to undergo two trials as the House delivered the charge against him to the Senate on Monday evening. The impeachment article was read by impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland).
Chief Justice John Roberts will not be presiding as he did for Trump’s first impeachment trial with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the body’s most senior Democrat, taking his place. The Constitution states that the chief of justice presides when the person facing trial is the current president of the United States, but since Trump is no longer in office, senators can preside.
Leahy stated that he is “up to the responsibility” of presiding and is going to make sure “the procedures are followed.”
“I’m not presenting the evidence, I’m making sure the procedures are followed,” Leahy said when asked about being a frequent critic of Trump. “I don’t think there’s any senator who over the 40-plus years I’ve been here would say I’m anything but impartial in ruling on procedure.”
With the second impeachment trial underway, whether the Democrats will seek witnesses and how long the trial will take place are unanswered questions. If the House impeachment managers seek witnesses, they are expected to cooperate, rather than threaten to fight over in court over executive privilege.
When asked whether he was open to having witnesses appear, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that “hopefully” Democrats would be able to negotiate with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on the structure of the proceedings.
Trump is currently working on forming his legal team, one lawyer he had approached declined his offer to join on Monday.
When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) asked Trump on Sunday about his mindset and preparations ahead of his second impeachment trial, the former president said he wanted to get it over with. Graham said he “wouldn’t think” Trump would come back from Florida for the proceedings, emphasizing the desire for a quick trial.
Under a deal reached between Senate leaders, Trump’s legal team and the House managers will have two weeks to exchange pre-trial briefs before arguments begin. Senators will be sworn in as jurors on Tuesday.
The trial is set to begin the week of February 8. The exact time frame is still unknown, but multiple impeachment managers claimed they don’t think it will last as long as Trump’s first trial in 2020.