Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial will begin during the week of February 8.
Top Democrat Chuck Schumer announced on Friday that the US House of Representatives – the lower of the two houses – will send the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday.
Schumer said House impeachment managers – serving as prosecutors in the Senate trial – and Trump’s defense team would have time to prepare between the time the single article is delivered and the start of the trial two weeks later.
“There will be a trial and, when that trial ends, senators will have to decide whether Donald John Trump incited the insurrection against the United States,” Schumer said, referring to the violent mob that stormed the US Capitol earlier this month.
He later 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.”
Trump, the only president to be impeached twice, has been charged with “incitement of insurrection” after an attack on the Capitol by his supporters. Five people died as a result.
The former president had called on his supporters at a rally in Washington, DC on January 6 to march on the Capitol as politicians met to certify Joe Biden’s election victory.
“[Y]ou’ll never take back your country with weakness,” Trump said. “You have to show strength and be strong.”
He added that “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country any more,” while telling the crowd to give “the weak” Republicans the “kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country”.
Following the assault, Democrats moved to impeach Trump again on January 13, following his acquittal in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The Democratic majority on the House judiciary committee released a 76-page impeachment report that said: “These comments directly incited a violent attack on the Capitol that threatened the safety and lives of the vice president, the speaker of the house, and the president pro tempore of the Senate, the first three individuals in the line of succession to the presidency.”
Now, he’ll once again face trial in the Senate.
But the bar for conviction is extremely high, requiring support from two-thirds of the chamber. Many Republicans have already come out against voting to convict Trump on procedural grounds, arguing that doing so is unconstitutional because the trial will occur after Trump has left office.
However, there is some precedent for Congress impeaching officials even after they have stepped down.