Trump Impeachment Trial Will Start Week of Feb. 8: Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Friday that the impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump will begin on the week of Feb. 8.
Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans to have the trial in February. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had proposed delaying the trial until February to give Trump’s legal team time to prepare.
Under the timeline, the House will transmit the impeachment article against Trump late Jan. 25, with initial proceedings on Jan. 26, but opening arguments will be pushed to February.
House Democrats voted to impeach Trump on Jan. 13 on a single article of impeachment that alleges Trump incited an insurrection that resulted in riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The vote to impeach was 232–197, with every Democrat voting in favor of impeachment, and 10 House Republicans joining.
“We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us,” Schumer said on Friday of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. “But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide.”
He added that there will be “a full trial,” and “it will be a fair trial.”
A mob had breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6 before Trump had finished giving a speech to a large crowd of supporters more than a 30-minute walk away, a timeline of the day by The Epoch Times shows. Trump had urged the public to act “peacefully and patriotically” that day, and repeatedly condemned the violence at the U.S. Capitol after the incident.
It marked the first time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached twice. It is also the first time a former president faces an impeachment trial after leaving office.
Trump left office on Jan. 20, but Senate leaders are determined to press forward. If convicted, senators can then choose to disqualify him from ever holding office in the future.
No president in U.S. history has ever been convicted, which would require a supermajority vote. Democrats hold 50 seats in the Senate and Republicans also hold 50. A handful of Republicans have said they’re open to convicting Trump, including McConnell.
Butch Bowers, a South Carolina-based lawyer, will be the lead attorney on the Trump legal team. He has represented a number of Republican lawmakers in the past, including then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in 2012.
“Butch is well respected by both Republicans and Democrats and will do an excellent job defending President Trump,” adviser Jason Miller announced in a Twitter post.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Trump is still forming a legal team but that Bowers would act as the “anchor.”
Zachary Stieber, Katabella Roberts, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.