Opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump are set to begin the week of 8 February, with the former president facing charges of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol, APA reports.
The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, announced the schedule late Friday after reaching an agreement with Republicans.
Under the timeline, the House will transmit the impeachment article against Trump late on Monday, with initial proceedings Tuesday. From there, Trump’s legal team will have time to prepare the case before opening arguments begin in February.
Schumer said he and the Republican Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, will iron out details about the timing and duration of the trial.
“The Senate will conduct a trial on the impeachment of Donald Trump,” Schumer, said. “It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial.”
Trump is the only president in history to be impeached twice. Conviction in the Senate, which would require a two-thirds majority vote, could prevent him from ever again holding public office.
While McConnell and others have expressed an openness to the charges facing Trump in his second impeachment trial, expectations are low that Democrats will find the votes they need to convict him.
Fifty Democrats and 17 Republicans will have to vote in favor of convicting and that’s not likely to happen, with many Republican senators indicating that they oppose the idea.
Yesterday, McConnell said he wanted Trump to have at least a week to prepare for the trial after the impeachment articles were presented to the Senate. But, in rejecting McConnell’s offer to delay transferring the articles from the House, Democrats did more than press the case against Trump. They also staked out a tough stance in an internal Senate power struggle, as the newly installed Joe Biden administration prepares to ask Republicans for support on initiatives including pandemic policy, economic relief and immigration reform.
McConnell and Republicans lost control of the Senate with a double loss in runoff elections in Georgia earlier this month. But McConnell has been fighting for advantage, refusing to approve a basic power-sharing agreement in a body now split 50-50, unless Schumer promised to retain a Senate filibuster rule that enables the minority party to block legislation with only 41 votes.