Impeachment Trial To Begin Feb. 8th

By Claire Hardwick

While President Trump is no longer president of the United States, he still has to deal with politics from Washington, DC. His impeachment trial in the Senate will begin on February 8th. 

The impeachment trial will be sent to the Senate this Monday, and will be read at 7pm. On Tuesday, Senators will be sworn in, and then the summons for the trial will be sent to former President Trump. Trump then has to respond by February 2, with the trial beginning six days later. 

From the Senate floor, Schumer said, “Both the House managers and the defense will have a period of time to draft their legal briefs just as they did in previous trials. … Once the briefs are drafted, the presentation by the parties will commence the week of Feb. 8.”

This decision comes after some back door negotiations between Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. While some Democrats were hoping for an immediate trial, McConnell said Trump needed some time to form his legal defense. Doug Andres, a spokesman for McConnell, said “Leader McConnell is glad that Leader Schumer agreed to Republicans’ request for additional time during the pre-trial phase. Especially given the fast and minimal process in the House, Republicans set out to ensure the Senate’s next steps will respect former President Trump’s rights and due process, the institution of the Senate, and the office of the presidency,”

There is no timeline issued for how long the trial will last, and there is a potential scenario it will conflict with Biden’s cabinet nominee’s confirmation, as well as Biden’s coronavirus relief bill. 

Press Secretary Jen Psaki, however, did not seem worried with the conflict. She told reporters that she thinks the senators can “walk and chew gum at the same time,” and that there is no reason Trump’s impeachment should interfere with Biden’s agenda. 

Why this matters: After the Capitol Hill riots, Republican lawmakers are concerned that impeaching the president will only further divide a clearly divided country. Trump’s ally in the Senate, Senator Lindsey Graham, has been working to stop the trial from moving forward. The Democrats and some key Republicans, however, believe it is important to hold Trump accountable for the role they believed he played in inciting the riots. Regardless, this is an unprecedented moment as the US Congress moves forward with the impeachment of a president who is no longer in office.