WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial will begin in the Senate Tuesday afternoon, just weeks after President Joe Biden took office following the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump on Jan. 13 on a single charge of inciting insurrection, focusing on a speech he made to supporters shortly before the D.C. riot.
Now, nine Democratic House lawmakers who will serve as prosecutors hope to persuade members of the 100-seat Senate to convict the former president. If they’re successful, it could pave the way for lawmakers to bar Trump from holding public office again.
A two-thirds majority of the 100-member Senate would have to support the charge to convict Trump, meaning 17 Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats in backing it.
NewsNation will live stream the impeachment trial in a player above, beginning Tuesday; the Senate will resume the impeachment trial Tuesday after convening at 1 p.m. and first concluding morning business.
Here’s what to expect in the coming days:
MONDAY, FEB. 8
Trump’s attorneys faced a deadline to submit a pretrial brief on Monday, offering details of the claims they intend to present a day before arguments begin on the Senate floor.
In the brief, the former president’s attorneys suggested that Trump was exercising his First Amendment rights when he disputed the election results. They also argue that he explicitly encouraged his supporters to have a peaceful protest and therefore cannot be responsible for the actions of the rioters.
The attorneys said the Senate isn’t entitled to try Trump now that he has left office, calling the case against him an act of “political theater.”
House impeachment members then responded to the filing Monday, saying the evidence against Trump is “overwhelming.”
The Democrats also said the former president has “no valid excuse or defense for his actions.”
The filing comes as the defense prepares to emphasize its argument, which the nine managers laid out last week.
In a brief filed Tuesday, the House lawmakers said Trump bears “unmistakable” blame for last month’s deadly assault on the Capitol. Five people died in the chaos, including a police officer.
“His conduct endangered the life of every single member of Congress, jeopardized the peaceful transition of power and line of succession, and compromised our national security,” the Democratic managers of the impeachment case wrote. “This is precisely the sort of constitutional offense that warrants disqualification from federal office.”
Trump’s lawyers submitted a formal response to the House’s impeachment article last week, denying the allegations and calling the trial unconstitutional.
“It is denied that President Trump ever endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” defense lawyers wrote in a 14-page brief.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on the Senate floor Monday afternoon a bipartisan resolution to govern the structure and timing of the impeachment trial that will begin Tuesday.
“All parties have agreed to a structure that will ensure a fair and honest Senate impeachment trial of the former president,” Schumer said. “Each side will have ample time to make their arguments, 16 hours over two days for the House managers, the same for the former president’s counsel. If managers decide they want witnesses, there will be a vote on that, which is the option they requested in regard to witnesses. The trial will also accommodate a request from the former president’s counsel to pause the trial during the Sabbath; the trial will break on Friday afternoon before sundown and will not resume until Sunday afternoon. As in previous trials, there will be equal time for senators’ questions and for closing arguments, and an opportunity for the Senate to hold deliberations if it so chooses, and then we will vote on the article of impeachment.”
Schumer continued, “If the president is convicted, we will proceed to a vote on whether he is qualified to enjoy an office of honor, trust or profit under the United States,” noting that “the structure we have agreed to is imminently fair.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also said on the Senate floor Monday afternoon the structure has been approved by both former President Trump’s legal team and the House managers because it “preserves due process and the rights of both sides” and “will give senators as jurors ample time to review the case and the arguments that each side will present.”
Read the full resolution, which is expected to pass the Senate early this week, below:
Impeachement trial resumes TUESDAY, FEB. 9 – FRIDAY, FEB. 12
Senators will meet as jurors Tuesday for the impeachment trial. The House will convene at 1 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Upon conclusion of morning business, the Senate will resume the impeachment trial of former President Trump.
After the House approved the sole charge of “incitement of insurrection,” Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. He’s also the first to face trial after leaving office.
The former president has rejected a request from House impeachment managers to testify under oath for the trial, according to an adviser.
House Democrats asked Trump to appear in a formal letter, though the Senate could later force a subpoena. Trump lawyers have dismissed the request as a “public relations stunt.”
Senate Majority Leader Schumer announced Monday on the Senate floor the structure and timing of the impeachment trial. He said all parties agreed to the structure that will “ensure a fair and honest Senate impeachment trial”:
- On Tuesday, Feb. 9, up to four hours will be equally divided between the House impeachment managers and former President Trump’s counsel to present arguments on the constitutionality of the trial. The Senate convenes at 1 p.m. EST; the impeachment trial will resume after the conclusion of morning business.
- Following these arguments, the Senate will vote at a simple majority threshold on whether the Senate has jurisdiction under the Constitution to try former President Trump; if a majority votes in favor of the constitutionality of the trial, it will proceed under the provisions of the resolution as follows:
- Beginning Wednesday, Feb. 10 at Noon EST, House managers will have 16 hours over two days to make their arguments, as will the defense. Each side must use their time over no greater than two days, and each day’s presentation will not exceed eight hours.
- Following presentations from both sides, there will be equal time for senators’ questions and for closing arguments and an opportunity for the Senate to hold deliberations, for a total of four hours
- Following the Senator question period, there will be four hours divided equally for arguments on whether the Senate will consider motions to subpoena witnesses and documents, if so requested. If the Senate votes in favor, then motions to subpoena witnesses or documents will be in order, and the Senate will vote on any such motions
- If witnesses or documents are subpoenaed, both parties can depose witnesses and conduct discovery.
- Up to four hours equally divided between the House impeachment managers and defense for closing arguments
- At the conclusion of closing arguments and, if requested, deliberation time for senators, the Senate will vote on the article of impeachment, which is a single charge of incitement of insurrection
- If the Senate votes to convict, they will proceed to a vote on whether he is qualified to further hold office
The Senate will pause the trial from Friday evening to Saturday evening this week to honor a request by a Trump attorney who observes the Jewish Sabbath.
“We respect their request and of course will accommodate it,” Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman said in a statement.
Trump’s legal team issued a statement following the announcement of the bipartisan resolution on the structure of the trial:
President Donald J. Trump’s legal team issued the following statement regarding the next phase of the unconstitutional impeachment trial: President Trump and his counsel are pleased that there was bipartisan support on how to structure the impeachment trial. We appreciate that Senate Republican leadership stood strong for due process and secured a structure that is consistent with past precedent. This process will provide us with an opportunity to explain to Senators why it is absurd and unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial against a private citizen.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Reporting by Reuters’ Ted Hesson, and AP’s Lisa Mascaro and Hope Yen.