Trump’s Senate impeachment trial expected to begin within days
“It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial.”
It currently seems unlikely that Democrats will be able to convince the requisite 17 Republicans to vote to convict Trump even though Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has accused Trump of provoking the riot.
Several Republican senators have said they believe it is unconstitutional to hold a trial after a president leaves office and that convicting Trump would be unnecessarily divisive.
When the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump earlier this month just 10 of the 211 Republicans in that chamber voted against Trump.
It is unclear how the trial process will work, and how the chamber will combine it with its other work.
Past Senate impeachment trials have taken at least three weeks from beginning to end.
“We have three essential items on our plate,” Schumer said in a tweet.
“Confirming President Biden’s cabinet and key officials. Providing desperately needed COVID relief. The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
“The Senate must – and will – do all three.”
Schumer said the argument that Trump could not be convicted after leaving office had been “roundly repudiated” by hundreds of constitutional scholars and “defies basic common sense”.
“It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country and then be permitted to resign so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office,” he said.
McConnell urged Schumer to move slowly enough to give Trump’s legal team time to prepare a defence.
“This impeachment began with an unprecedentedly fast and minimal process over in the House,” McConnell said.
“The sequel cannot be an insufficient Senate process that denies former President Trump his due process or damages the Senate or the presidency itself.”
When the Senate held its previous impeachment trial early last year just one Republican – Utah Senator Mitt Romney – voted to convict Trump for pressuring Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings.
US power and politics
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Matthew Knott is North America correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.