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‘There will be a trial’: Trump impeachment article to be delivered to Senate on Monday, says Schumer

Andrew Buncombe
·3-min read
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer greets National Guard soldiers (EPA)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer greets National Guard soldiers (EPA)

Democrats will deliver Donald Trump’s article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday - opening the way for a trial of the former president to start as early as next week.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Friday, the new majority leader Chuck Schumer, said House speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would be passing on the article of impeachment against Mr Trump to the upper chamber of Congress on Monday.

“The Senate will also conduct a second impeachment trial for Donald Trump. I've been speaking to the Republican leader about the timing and duration of the trial,” he said.

“Make no mistake: a trial will be held in the United States Senate, and there will be a vote on whether to convict."

Earlier this month, Mr Trump was impeached for a second time by the House of Representatives, which charged him with “incitement of insurrection”, following a speech to supporters, just hours before hundreds of them stormed the US Capitol as a joint session of Congress voted to affirm the electoral college votes of Joe Biden.

Mr Trump is the first president to be twice impeached by the House. No president has been convicted by the Senate.

There had been discussion as to whether Democrats would be wise to make a priority of pursuing the Senate trial of Mr Trump given Mr Biden’s attempt to present himself as someone seeking to lower the political rhetoric in Washington DC and work with members of both parties.

The party is aware that going after Mr Trump would help him rally support among his base.

For his part, the Republican leader in the Democrat-controlled Senate, Mitch McConnell, has been seeking to delay the trial of Mr Trump, claiming the former president needs more time to prepare his defence, and decide whether he wants to appear in person.

Yet on Friday, Mr Schumer delivered a very clear signal that Democrats intend to push ahead with the impeachment trial, adamant that Mr Trump be held accountable for what they see as his role in inciting the action, and falsely persuading millions of his supporters that the election was rigged.

There is no evidence of electoral fraud or malpractice but a large portion of Republicans believe Mr Biden stole the election from them.

“I've heard some of my Republican colleagues argue that this trial would be unconstitutional because Donald Trump is no longer in office, in an argument that has been roundly repudiated, debunked by hundreds of constitutional scholars left, right and centre,” said Mr Schumer.

“It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country, and then be permitted to resign, so as to avoid accountability and avoid being barred from future office.”

He said the article of the House impeachment would be sent to the Senate swiftly.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial,” he said.

“But make no mistake, there will be a trial and when that trial ends, senators will have to decide if they believe Donald John Trump incited the insurrection against the United States.”

Mr McConnell, who has been liaising with Mr Trump about how best to defend him in the Senate, has been seeking to push back the trial until at least 11 February. Politico noted that under Senate rules, the chamber must proceed with an impeachment trial within a day after receiving the article from the House, unless the two leaders agree to a different timetable.

“This impeachment began with an unprecedentedly fast and minimal process over in the House,” Mr McConnell said on 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.”

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