The United States Senate would begin the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on February 8, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
“The January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, incited by Donald J Trump was a day none of us will ever forget. We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us. But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide,” Schumer said on the senate floor.
Both the Republican and the Democratic Party now have 50 seats each in the 100 member Senate.
However, the crucial vote of Vice President Kamala Harris in her capacity as the chairman of the senate gives the Democrats a majority in the upper chambers of the Congress.
Giving details of the impeachment process, Schumer said the house managers will come to read the article of impeachment at 7 pm on Monday. Members will then be sworn in the next day.
After that, both the house managers and the defense will have a period of time to draft their legal briefs, just as they did in previous trials, he said.
“During that period, the senate will continue to do other business for the American people, such as cabinet nominations and the COVID-relief bill, which would provide relief for millions of Americans who are suffering during this pandemic. Then, once the briefs are drafted, presentations by the parties will commence in the week of February 8th,” Schumer said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the impeachment began with an unprecedentedly fast and minimal process in the house.
The sequel cannot be an insufficient senate process that denies former president Trump his due process or damages the senate or the presidency itself, he said.
“Senate Republicans strongly believe we need a full and fair process where the former president can mount a defense and the senate can properly consider the factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake,” he said.
The Republican leader suggested that the impeachment trial begin on February 11.
“That timeline would have provided the Senate some more floor time before we step fully into the unknown of a trial,” he said.
The ruling Democrats did not agree to his timeline. Earlier in the day, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection by Trump will be delivered to the senate on Monday.
The lead house managers for this would be Congressman Jamie Raskin, along with lawmakers Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Ted Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Madeleine Dean and Joe Neguse.
“We are respectful of the senate’s constitutional power over the trial and always attentive to the fairness of the process, noting that the former president will have had the same amount of time to prepare for trial as our managers. Our managers are ready to begin to make their case to 100 senate jurors through the trial process,” she said.
The White House insisted that the impeachment trial and other business of the Congress can be held simultaneously. “At this moment in history, we have some recent precedent of the senate conducting an impeachment trial while also doing the business of the American people. And when the trial was being conducted last January, there were also hearings that were happening nearly on a daily basis, and we expect that type of work to continue,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
“The House can also proceed and continue to do the work on the American rescue plan, move that forward, and we certainly expect and hope that they will do that,” she said.
“But what the president's view is: What cannot be delayed through this process is his proposal to get relief to the American people at this time of crisis. He remains confident, after serving decades in the senate, that the senate members of both parties can walk and chew gum at the same time and can move forward with the business of the American people,” Psaki said.