Nancy Pelosi will send the impeachment article Monday accusing Donald Trump of incitement to insurgency in the Senate, setting the stage for the opening of a trial in the first full week of Joe Biden’s presidency.
Chuck Schumer, the new Democratic majority leader in the Senate, said Friday morning that he spoke to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Speaker, about the release of the impeachment article. The upper house of Congress is constitutionally bound to open the trial at 1 p.m. the day after it is received.
“Make no mistake, there will be a trial in the United States Senate and there will be a vote on whether to convict the president,” Schumer said Friday.
Democrats’ decision to move the trial forward complicates a legislative calendar filled with votes to confirm the nominees for Mr Biden’s cabinet, as well as consideration of the new president’s ambitious proposals for nearly $ 2 billion in additional economic aid for fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Mr. Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached for the second time, after all Democrats and 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to charge him with incitement to the insurgency for his role in the violent siege of Capitol Hill on January 6. Crowds of supporters of the president stormed the legislative complex in a melee that left five people dead, including a Capitol policeman.
Mr. Trump is only the third president since the founding of the United States to face an impeachment trial, and he would be the first to do so after leaving office. Some Republican lawmakers have questioned whether it is constitutional to hold a trial when Mr. Trump is no longer in the White House, but legal scholars agree there is precedent, including the cases of several federal judges who did facing impeachment trials after their resignation.
“It does not make sense that a president or an official could commit a heinous crime against our country and then be allowed to resign in order to avoid accountability and a vote to exclude them from their future office,” M Schumer.
Mr Schumer, the Democratic Senator from New York, became Senate Majority Leader this week after Mr Biden was inaugurated and Vice President Kamala Harris and Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia were sworn in , including victories in hotly contested second rounds. month tilted the balance of power in the Senate towards the Democrats by the smallest margin possible. The upper house of Congress is split, 50-50, with Ms. Harris able to vote for a decisive start.
This resulted in the demotion of Mitch McConnell, the Republican of Kentucky, to the post of Senate Minority Leader. He and Mr. Schumer are locked in negotiations over an “organizational resolution” to govern the functioning of the Senate given the equal numbers in the Democratic and Republican caucuses.
The Senate has only been split in the middle once before, in 2001. This arrangement lasted for six months, until Jim Jeffords, a senator from Vermont, left the Republican Party and began caucusing with the Democrats.
Mr McConnell, who was largely loyal to Mr Trump during his four years in the White House, blamed the former president for the attack on Capitol Hill, claiming earlier this week he had “provoked” and “nurtured” lies ”to the rioters. The minority leader left the door open for a vote to condemn the president in his trial.
Mr McConnell also questioned how fast Democrats are moving and this week proposed to postpone the trial until at least the middle of next month.
“Senate Republicans strongly believe that we need a full and fair process in which the former president can mount a defense and the Senate can properly address the factual, legal and constitutional issues at stake,” Mr. McConnell.
Mr. Trump has been out of public view since Wednesday morning, when he snubbed Mr. Biden’s nomination and flew to his Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, Florida.
Mr. McConnell and Lindsey Graham, the Republican Senator from South Carolina and a staunch ally of Mr. Trump, told GOP lawmakers on Thursday that Mr. Trump had hired Butch Bowers, a South Carolina-based lawyer, to represent him in the impeachment process.