House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will send the article of impeachment against former President Trump to the Senate on Monday, a move that would likely foil efforts by Republican Senate leadership to delay the start of the trial until February.
"The article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection by Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday, January 25," Pelosi said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had earlier on Friday announced that Pelosi had told him the House would send the articles over on Monday.
"I've spoken to Speaker Pelosi, who informed me that the article will be delivered to the Senate on Monday," Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor on Friday. "The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial, and when the trial ends, senators will have to decide whether Donald John Trump incited the insurrection against the United States."
The House voted to impeach Mr. Trump on the sole charge of incitement of insurrection on January 13, the week after a mob of the president's supporters overran the U.S. Capitol in an attack that resulted in the deaths of five people. Senate Republicans argued that the House had voted to impeach Mr. Trump too quickly, since it held no impeachment hearings. On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a schedule that would have had the House deliver the article to the Senate on January 28, allowing the trial to begin in mid-February. This would Mr. Trump and his lawyers time to prepare a defense to rebut the arguments of the impeachment managers, McConnell argued.
"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 in a speech on the Senate floor Friday.
If the House does send the impeachment article to the Senate on Monday, it will trigger the beginning of the trial sooner. Schumer is likely to propose his own resolution for the timeline of the trial, which would then be adopted by the Democratic majority. Pelosi implicitly pushed back against Republican criticisms that the proceedings were moving too quickly in her statement on Friday.
"We are respectful of the Senate's constitutional power over the trial and always attentive to the fairness of the process, noting that the former president will have had the same amount of time to prepare for trial as our Managers. Our Managers are ready to begin to make their case to 100 Senate jurors through the trial process," Pelosi said.
During Mr. Trump's 2020 impeachment trial, Schumer complained about the timeline laid out by McConnell and approved by the Republican majority at the time, because it did not automatically allow for the testimony of witnesses or the subpoena of documents from the administration. The Senate ultimately voted against hearing from witnesses and subpoenaing documents before Mr. Trump was acquitted largely along party lines, with Democrats arguing that the trial was rushed.
Now, Senate Republicans are the ones arguing that the trial will be rushed. It is unclear whether Mr. Trump and his lawyers will want to present evidence or call witnesses. Some Democrats argue that a lengthy trial is not needed, because the evidence of incitement of insurrection occurred when Mr. Trump called on his supporters to "fight like hell" to overturn the election in a speech just hours before the rioters stormed the Capitol.
In a press conference on Thursday, Pelosi argued that this impeachment trial would differ from Mr. Trump's first impeachment trial, which was triggered by a call he made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019 urging Ukraine to investigate then-candidate Joe Biden. Mr. Trump defended his call to Zelensky as "perfect."
"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," Pelosi said. "I do see a big difference between something that we all witnessed versus what information you might need to substantiate an Article of Impeachment based on, large part, on a call that the President made and described as 'perfect.'"
Mr. Trump is the first president to be impeached twice, and will be the first president to face an impeachment trial after his term has ended. Some Republicans believe it is unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a president who is no longer in office, but the Constitution does not specify whether only sitting presidents can be convicted or acquitted.
Democrats argue that it is necessary to hold an impeachment trial for Mr. Trump in order to show that a president must be accountable for his actions even in his last month of his term in office. If Mr. Trump is convicted, there would also be a vote to bar him from seeking elected office in the future.
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