U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday will send an article of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday, beginning a trial at which the former president could be convicted of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“There will be a trial,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial.”
Democrats rejected Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s request to delay Trump’s impeachment trial until next month on the ground that Trump’s legal team needs more time to develop a defense strategy.
Trump is the first U.S. president to be impeached twice and the first to go on trial after leaving office. Schumer did not say when Trump’s second impeachment trial would begin, but if he is convicted of the single charge of incitement of insurrection, he could be barred from holding federal office again.
A conviction would require at least 17 Republican Senate votes, but to date only a handful of Republicans have indicated they would consider convicting Trump, and most have questioned the legality of trying a president after his term has ended. Republicans also have complained a trial would be divisive and distract the new Biden administration.
As preparations for the trial continue, Schumer and McConnell, the Senate’s majority leader until Democrats narrowly won control earlier this month, are vying for advantage in the evenly divided Senate, where Democrats now have an edge because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote.
Shortly before the January 6 insurrection that resulted in the deaths of five people, Trump told thousands of supporters at a rally near the White House to “fight like hell” against his election loss, which Congress was in the process of formally certifying.
Thousands of his supporters marched to the Capitol and hundreds of them broke in, delaying the certification of the results. A Capitol Police officer was among those who died in the rioting. The House impeached Trump one week later, with the support of 10 Republicans who joined Democrats in voting to impeach.