Senate leadership announced on Monday that they have reached a deal on the framework for former President Trump’s impeachment trial, which will start on Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said today, “for the information of the Senate, the Republican leader and I, in consultation with both the House managers and Former President Trump’s lawyers, have agreed to a bipartisan resolution to govern the structure and timing of the impending trial.” Schumer added, “All parties have agreed to a structure that will ensure a fair and honest Senate Impeachment trial of the former president.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed on the Senate floor that they had reached an agreement and said, “I’m pleased that Leader Schumer and I were able reach an agreement on a fair process and estimated timeline for the upcoming Senate trial and it will give senators, as jurors, ample time to receive the case and the arguments. McConnell added, “it preserves due process and the rights of both sides.”
The timeline would allow the trial to wrap up as early as next week, if both sides agree not to call witnesses.
Under the agreement the Senate will debate and vote on whether the trial is constitutional. The effort to declare the trialunconstitutional will fall short after Rand Paul (R-KY) forced a vote on the issue last month. Forty-four GOP senators supported his effort.
Opening arguments will start on Wednesday. Under the agreement, the House impeachment managers and Trump’s team will have 16 hours over two days each to present their case to the Senate.
The agreement also leaves the door open to calling witnesses. The House impeachment managers previously invited Trump to testify under oath but was declined on advice of his attorneys. They did not say whether they would try to get the Senate to call other witnesses.
The trial will be paused on Saturday to accommodate a request from a Trump attorney to observe the Jewish Sabbath.
If both sides use all of their time, that would set up opening arguments to close on Sunday. After that the Senate should have time to ask questions of both sides, as well as potential deliberations. According to the resolution of the trial’s rules, senators will get four hours to ask questions. Both sides will get two hours for closing arguments.
After deliberations by the Senate, if they choose, then the vote on the articles of impeachment will be held.
Though some Republicans were disappointed Trump urged his supporters to march peacefully to the Capitol, as lawmakers were counting the Electoral College result, Democrats are not expected to be able to get the 17 Republican votes needed to convict the former President Trump.