A delegation of members of the US House of Representatives marched to become prosecutors in a rally across the Capitol on Monday night to present a single article to impeach Donald Trump, leading to the start of an unprecedented trial of the former president.
The nine impeachment directors in the House of Representatives selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handed the impeachment article to the Senate Secretary at around 7 pm, with Principal Director Jimmy Raskin of Maryland reading it aloud on the floor of the room.
Trump is the first US president to be impeached twice and will be the first president to stand trial after leaving office. The handover of the impeachment essay, followed by the swearing in of senators as jurors, officially signals the start of proceedings, although the pleadings won’t begin until the week of February 8.
The symbolic opening of the trial comes as the Senate remains without agreement on how to operate with the 50-50 split and the Democrats in nominal control. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell agreed on timing to proceed with the trial but there was nothing else.
“We hope to negotiate something with McConnell about the trial,” Schumer told reporters at the Capitol when asked whether witnesses would be called. We don’t know what requests are from either side yet.
Schumer also said that Trump will issue a subpoena.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, interim president of the Chamber, will chair the trial in place of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, because Trump is no longer in office.
The odds of Trump being convicted of inciting the revolt are long. Conviction may require the votes of at least 17 Republican senators, but many argue that doing so would be divisive, unjustified, or even unconstitutional.
Senator. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday” that he will vote to end the trial at the first opportunity to move to other business.
“I think the trial is stupid, and I think it is counter-productive,” Rubio said. “We already have a fire burning in this country and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on a fire.”
On Monday, Schumer dismissed arguments made by some in the Republican Party that the Constitution prohibits the Senate from trying a former president, calling it a “marginal legal theory.” He cited research by many legal scholars and a precedent from 1876 when an impeachment trial was held for the Secretary of War under President Ulysses S. Grant despite his resignation to avoid proceedings.
“It makes absolutely no sense for a president or any official to commit a heinous crime against our country and then defeat the impeachment powers of Congress by simply resigning,” Schumer said in the Senate floor.
The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on January 13, and ten Republicans joined all 222 Democrats in favor. The single accuses Trump of inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6, killing five and disrupting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.
The path was followed through the Statuary Hall of the House and the Capitol Rotunda to the Senate for the first time in 1868 by Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, one day after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson.
House clerk, Sherrill Johnson, led the procession on Monday through the Capitol – as she did last year before Trump’s first trial – this time joined by Acting Sgt. Timothy Blodget and nine House directors followed suit. Last year, a group of seven House directors made the same trip with text carts from House witnesses and heard testimonies.
This time, there were no hearings like this. Democrats assert that Trump incited and supported the insurgency in public opinion.
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