Washington, Jan 22 (efe-epa).- The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives will send to the Senate at the start of next week the article of impeachment against now-former President Donald Trump, the top Democrat in the upper chamber said Friday.
Sen. Chuck Schumer made the announcement on the Senate floor after communicating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I have spoken to Speaker Pelosi, who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” the New York lawmaker said roughly 48 hours into the administration of the new president, Democrat Joe Biden.
Barring an agreement between Schumer and Republican leader Mitch McConnell to alter the timetable, Trump’s Senate trial on the charge of inciting insurrection would begin Tuesday afternoon.
“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump,” Schumer said. “It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial, and when that trial ends, senators will have to decide if they believe Donald John Trump incited the insurrection against the United States.”
The resolution for the history-making second impeachment of Trump passed the House on Jan. 13, a week after a mob of his supporters invaded the Capitol, leading to five deaths.
The Jan. 6 riot occurred hours after a “Stop the Steal” rally where the-then president encouraged his partisans to march on the Capitol as Congress was meeting to certify Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Trump had spent the months following the Nov. 3 election repeating evidence-free claims of massive fraud.
Ten Republicans united with the Democratic majority in the House to impeach Trump, but it remains unclear whether the Senate – evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats – will muster the two-thirds majority necessary for conviction.
“Senate Republicans strongly believe we need a full and fair process where the former president can mount a defense and the Senate can properly consider the factual, legal and constitutional questions at stake,” McConnell said Friday on the floor.
The Kentucky Republican, who said Tuesday that Trump was to blame for the Jan. 6 assault, had urged the House to delay sending the article of impeachment until February.
Schumer indicated Friday that he remained open to the idea of reaching an accommodation with the Republicans on the timetable for Trump’s trial amid concerns that the impeachment matter will delay confirmation of Biden’s Cabinet nominees.
While the White House contends that the Senate can conduct the trial without putting the confirmation process on hold, Republican senators say Democrats must expect delays in approving Biden’s appointments if they insist on beginning the trial next week.
Despite the 50-50 split, Democrats control the upper chamber thanks to the participation of Vice President Kamala Harris in her constitutional role as president of the Senate.
Even so, the smooth functioning of the Senate depends on agreement between Democrats and Republican on procedural matters and negotiations on that front have been contentious.
McConnell wants Democrats to pledge not to do away with the filibuster, a legislative mechanism that effectively requires 60 votes to pass a bill, but Schumer said Friday that the Republican leader’s “unacceptable” proposal would not be accepted.
Democrats say that the rationale for going forward with a Senate trial after Trump has left the presidency is to disqualify him from holding political office in the future.
Imposing that penalty would require a separate vote following a hypothetical conviction of the real estate mogul-turned-politician.
Trump was impeached by the House in late 2019 on one charge of abuse of power stemming from an allegation that he sought personal political gain that year by improperly pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce a corruption investigation into then-candidate Biden and his son Hunter.
He also faced a separate charge of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.