Senate impeachment trial likely won't begin until after Biden sworn in

  • In Politics
  • 2021-01-13 21:05:25Z

While the House is set to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday, the Senate trial likely won't start until after he leaves office.

The Senate is currently on a recess break and is set to reconvene Tuesday - one day before Joe Biden's inauguration. Democrats have been hopeful in immediately moving forward on a trial to argue the president is guilty of inciting an insurrection. But the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office and indicated a trial would not occur until the Senate is back in session, according to Doug Andres, a spokesman for McConnell.

The timeline means Trump's impeachment trial may coincide with Biden's first days in office.

While McConnell, R-Ky., controls the Senate floor and its schedule, Schumer, D-N.Y., has been floating the possibly invoking a rarely used emergency provision that would force the Senate back in session if both leaders consented. McConnell's office told Schumer's staff he would not consent, Andres added, thus leaving the Senate on a break until Jan. 19 and unable to receive the House's article of impeachment until then.

Impeachment live updates: GOP House leader says Trump 'bears responsibility' for riot, but impeachment a 'mistake'

"There was legislation passed in 2004 that allows the Senate minority leader and majority leader to jointly reconvene the Senate in times of emergency. This is a time of emergency," Schumer said at a news conference in New York on Tuesday.

"I've asked him to call the Senate back," Schumer said of McConnell. "We can come back ASAP and vote to convict Donald Trump and get him out of office now before any further damage is done."

'Betrayal': Trump impeachment gets powerful GOP support

If the Senate receives the article of impeachment on Tuesday, Senate rules dictate that the chamber would begin proceedings the following day at 1 p.m., meaning the process would begin on Jan. 20 around the same time Biden is inaugurated.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has not said when the chamber will transmit its article of impeachment to the Senate, leaving it unclear when a trial might begin. On Wednesday, Pelosi told reporters, "I will not be making that announcement right now."

McConnell said in a letter to fellow Senate Republicans just before the House was set to vote that he is still weighing the charge lodged against Trump and has "not made a final decision" on whether he will vote to convict the president during his trial.

"While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate," McConnell said, according to an excerpt of the letter.

McConnell has been virtually silent on the calls to hold Trump accountable over last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol but multiple news outlets, including the New York Times and CNN, reported he was pleased with the House moving forward on impeachment and believes it will help the Republican Party move forward in a post-Trump world.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump impeachment: Senate trial won't begin until after Biden sworn in


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