The article of impeachment against President Trump has been delivered to the Senate, and House impeachment managers presented, exhibited and read it aloud. The trial is set to begin the week of February 8.
“The managers on the part of the House of Representatives are here and present and ready to present the article of impeachment, which has been preferred by House of Representatives against Donald John Trump, former president of the United States,” said lead impeachment manager Congressman Jamie Raskin.
When Raskin was reading the article, it was silent in the Senate chamber and the House impeachment managers stood still and listened intently to Raskin.
There were only three Republicans in the Senate chamber when the impeachment managers read the article: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senators Roger Marshall of Kansas and Mitt Romney of Utah. There were at least 30 Democrats. Just prior to the reading, the Senate had confirmed Janet Yellen as treasury secretary by a bipartisan vote of 84-16.
The House impeached Mr. Trump on January 13 on a charge of inciting an insurrection. One week earlier, Mr. Trump told his supporters at a rally to “fight like hell” as members of Congress prepared to count the Electoral College votes. A mob of his angry backers then stormed the U.S. Capitol, sending lawmakers into hiding and delaying the electoral count for nearly six hours. The rioters shattered windows and broke down doors to gain access to the halls of Congress, and five people died in the melee.
House Democrats brought the impeachment resolution to a vote with unprecedented speed, reflecting the severity of the assault on the Capitol and the limited time left in Mr. Trump’s term. Mr. Biden became president on January 20, so Mr. Trump will be first president to have an impeachment trial after leaving office.
Senators will be sworn in as members of the impeachment court on Tuesday, January 26. Then both the impeachment managers and the president’s defence team will draft their briefs for trial.
In a change from Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont, the Senate pro tempore, will preside over the trial instead of Chief Justice John Roberts.
“The president pro tempore has historically presided over Senate impeachment trials of non-presidents,” Leahy confirmed in a statement on Monday. “When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes an additional special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws. It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously.”
Roberts presided over Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, as designated by the Constitution. But the Constitution is silent on the question of who presides over the Senate trial of a former president, and a former president has never faced an impeachment trial.