The House’s article of impeachment against former president Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, triggering the process leading to a trial.
Schumer said he discussed the timing with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He didn’t address a proposal from Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell to delay the start of a trial for three weeks.
“Make no mistake a trial will be held,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday. “Senators will have to decide whether Donald J. Trump incited the insurrection against the United States.”
The House impeached Trump for the second time on Jan. 13 on a single article charging him with inciting an insurrection for his role in stoking a mob of supporters who then stormed the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in the deaths of five people and damaged the building.
Pelosi waited until after Joe Biden was sworn in as president Wednesday, which was also the day Democrats assumed control of the Senate with the swearing-in of three new senators. The article can be transmitted without any further House floor action.
Transmittal of the article automatically triggers the beginning of the trial process. Schumer said the Senate must also continue work on confirming Biden’s cabinet and making progress on a pandemic relief package.
McConnell on Thursday proposed that Pelosi delay sending the article until Jan. 28 and allow Trump a week to respond, with his pre-trial brief due the following week on Feb. 11. Arguments by the prosecution and the defense would begin after that.
“This impeachment began with an unprecedentedly fast and minimal process over in the House,” McConnell said Friday. “The sequel cannot be an insufficient Senate process that denies former President Trump his due process or damages the Senate or the presidency itself.”
There will be significant differences from Trump’s first impeachment trial, which began on Jan. 16, 2020. That case was based on his pressure on Ukraine’s president to dig up dirt on Trump’s emerging political rival Biden, and it came after months of evidence-gathering, witness testimony, and transcripts from hearings.
Trump’s second impeachment case comes after no House hearings and no witness testimony. The argument that House impeachment managers — the prosecutors in the case –expect to press at trial essentially is that the former president incited and supported the insurrection, and he did much of that in public view.
Lead House manager Jamie Raskin and Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler last week announced that former impeachment counsel Barry Berke and Joshua Matz — who had been involved in prosecution of Trump’s first trial — were rehired to help with his second Senate trial.
Trump adviser Jason Miller said on Twitter Thursday that the former president hired South Carolina lawyer Butch Bowers as part of his legal team.
— With assistance by Steven T. Dennis
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