WASHINGTON | Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will begin in the second week of February in the Senate, after the former president’s indictment is transmitted to the Upper House early next week, Democratic leaders in Congress said on Friday. .
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This two-week delay between the delivery of the indictment and the start of the proceedings will ensure that the trial does not monopolize the sessions in the Upper House for the start of Joe Biden’s term. The Senate will thus be able in particular to confirm the members of its government.
“Once the files are drafted, the presentation by the parties will begin the week of February 8,” said Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the Senate, where Donald Trump is to be tried for “incitement to insurgency” Friday evening.
Mr. Schumer had previously specified to his colleagues that the indictment “would be sent to the Senate on Monday”.
“Our prosecutors are ready to defend their case before the 100 senators who will serve as judges during the trial”, then confirmed Mr.me Pelosi in a statement.
Concretely, these “prosecutors” – elected Democrats of the House led by Jamie Raskin – will cross the corridors of Congress on Monday to bring the indictment into the chamber of the Senate, where they will read it to the senators.
This step marks the formal opening of the trial, but the debates on the merits will therefore not begin until two weeks later.
Chuck Schumer had specified, in the morning, to have discussed with the leader of the Republican majority, Mitch McConnell, “of the calendar and the duration” of the hearings.
The latter had specifically suggested to wait until mid-February to start the discussions. “The indictment by the House has been faster and more minimalist than ever, the next step cannot be an insufficient trial in the Senate,” he said.
“We need a full and fair trial, during which the former president can defend himself and the Senate to consider all factual, legal and constitutional questions,” he continued.
The clever strategist had even stressed that it was in the interest of the new administration to wait.
So far, Joe Biden has refrained from intervening on this subject, believing that it was up to Congress to set the terms of the trial of his predecessor.
Donald Trump is accused of having encouraged his supporters to launch an assault on the Capitol on January 6, when the elected representatives of Congress certified the victory of his Democratic rival in the presidential election.
“You will never take back our country by being weak. You have to show strength and you have to be strong, ”he told his supporters shortly before they invaded the Capitol, sowing chaos and violence. Five people died during this attack.
A week later, Donald Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice by the Democrat-controlled House.
He had already been sent to trial at the end of 2019 for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son. The Senate, controlled by the Republicans, had quickly acquitted him.
This time, some elected Republicans were very critical. Even Mitch McConnell, who was one of his strongest allies during his presidency, has made it known that he does not rule out finding him guilty.
But the Constitution imposes a two-thirds threshold for convicting a president, and it would take 17 Republican senators to join the 50 Democrats to achieve that qualified majority, which is very uncertain at this point.
If Donald Trump were found guilty, he would not be impeached since he has already left the White House, but he would become ineligible, while he has toyed with the idea of a new presidential candidacy in 2024.