Former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial will start the week of Feb. 8, allowing the chamber time to fill out President Joe Biden’s Cabinet, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday.
The process will start Monday when the House sends its impeachment article to the Senate. The chamber charged Trump with inciting an insurrection against the government on Jan. 6. Senators will get sworn in as jurors on Tuesday, then the House impeachment managers and the ex-president’s defense will have time to draft legal briefs.
Other Business Shall Continue
Schumer said the Senate will “continue to do other business” such as confirming executive branch nominees and working on a coronavirus relief package before the trial commences the week of Feb. 8. Earlier Friday, Biden signaled he would support a later trial date to allow his administration to “get up and running.”
Schumer added that “we all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us.”
“But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide,” the New York Democrat said.
The riot earlier this month disrupted Congress’ count of Biden’s electoral win and left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. The House impeached Trump a week after the insurrection, as 10 Republicans joined all 222 Democrats in voting to charge him. Trump became the first president impeached by the House twice.
67 Votes To Convict
The Senate will need 67 votes to convict him. If all 50 Democrats support a guilty verdict, they will need 17 Republicans to join them.
If the Senate convicts Trump, it can bar him from holding office in the future through a separate vote.
Earlier Friday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expressed concerns that Trump would not have enough time to mount a defense. He had asked the House to send the article on Jan. 28 to ensure “a full and fair process.”
In a statement Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Trump “will have had the same amount of time to prepare for trial” as the House impeachment managers. They will make the House’s case before the Senate.
Trump has hired South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers to defend him during the trial. The nine impeachment managers are Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Diana DeGette of Colorado, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Eric Swalwell and Ted Lieu of California, Stacey Plaskett, the delegate for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania and Joe Neguse of Colorado.
Pelosi contended Thursday that the managers would not need to prepare as much evidence for the second trial as they did for the first last year.
Statements From Leaders
“This year, the whole world bore witness to the president’s incitement, to the execution of his call to action, and the violence that was used,” the California Democrat told reporters.
The first trial Trump faced last year for charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress lasted about three weeks. The Republican-held Senate acquitted him.
Schumer downplayed GOP concerns that Democrats would rush through the trial after a quick process in the House.
“It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial,” he said earlier Friday.
McConnell has not indicated whether he will vote to convict Trump. On Tuesday, he said the rioters “were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania both called on Trump to resign while he still held office. Neither has said how they plan to vote on conviction.
Murkowski said in a statement earlier this month that the House responded to the Capitol attack “swiftly, and I believe, appropriately, with impeachment.”