The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins in the Senate on Tuesday after Republicans and Democrats, as well as the House managers and Trump’s legal team agreed to a rapid trial timetable.
The trial will kick off with a debate on the constitutionality of the proceeding, in which both sides will get four-hours each to make their case. At the end of the debate, the Senate will vote on whether to proceed with the trial, which is expected to pass with a majority vote. Both sides are tied with 50 Senators each in the Upper House, but on crucial matters, Vice President can cast her vote to break the tie.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Monday that the structure of the trial rules commonly agreed to by all sides is “eminently fair,” and will “allow for the trial to achieve its purpose: truth and accountability.”
If the constitutional vote passes, the impeachment managers will begin their presentation at noon, Wednesday. Both sides are allowed up to 16 hours each for arguments.
The nine impeachment managers, who are Democrats from the House of Representatives, have charged that Trump is responsible for the deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6 by “inciting insurrection” in a speech to supporters hours before the Congressional meeting to certify Biden’s presidential election win.
Trump followers’ failed violent attempt to block the Congress from certifying Biden’s victory resulted in the death of five people.
Trump’s attorneys argue that the trial is unconstitutional because he is no more the President but a private citizen.
A resolution charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” was passed with a 232 to 197 vote in the House of Representatives on January 13.
10 Republican Representatives voted against Trump, who thus became the first president in US history to be impeached twice. He was impeached by the House in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Although the impeachment move was passed in The House, it will not be an easy task in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict Trump.
The Democrats need the support of at least 17 Republican senators to reach that target in the 100 member Upper House, but chances are less for enough Republicans to join them.
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