• Michael McAuliff

Trump's Historic Second Impeachment Goes To The Senate

Full speed ahead with the second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday that the House would send its article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, Sept. 25.


Absent any agreement between Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- that the rest of the Senate also respects -- the trial would have to start the next day.


Pelosi and Schumer said moving ahead was a matter of showing the world that there will be accountability for inspiring a violent, deadly assault on the nation's Capitol.


"Exactly one week after the attack on the Capitol to undermine the integrity of our democracy, a bipartisan vote of the House of Representatives passed the article of impeachment, which is our solemn duty to deliver to the Senate," Pelosi said in a statement.


"The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump," said Schumer. "It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial."


McConnell had proposed a timeline for the trial that would have had arguments and deliberations starting in mid-February, but he and Schumer had not come to an agreement before Pelosi decided to send along the article accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, which passed the House with 10 Republicans in support.


Schumer and McConnell must now figure out a trial process over the weekend, or leave the Senate to proceed in a more ad hoc manner, with process decisions being made by majority votes.


McConnell and other Republicans had been arguing for a slower process to give Trump and his lawyers time to prepare. Trump only selected a lead lawyer for his defense, South Carolinian Butch Bowers, this week.


Democrats had seemed amenable to giving Trump some time while working on President Biden's agenda, but had been arguing for trial rules that allow the Senate to split its days so it could still advance nominations and bills for the new administration.


But without an agreement, impeachment rules call for a trial to begin at 1 p.m. the day after House managers deliver the articles. The Senate is then supposed to spend six days a week on the impeachment case.


Democrats still hope for an agreement, but Republicans suggested, if there is one, that they would not be willing to break from historic precedent to split the days.


They argued Democrats were actually harming Biden by not accepting McConnell's timeline.


"It would have been a substantial benefit to the incoming administration, allow them to get more of their cabinet confirmed, which we are cooperating as best we can to expedite," said McConnell.


"Clearly, if the impeachment articles come over Monday, the opportunity for President Biden to get a cabinet in place is done until impeachment is done. This basically stops President Biden in his tracks," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a member of GOP leadership. "She [Pelosi] sends it Monday, she's saying to Joe Biden 'I don't care about you or your cabinet. My hatred and vitriol of Donald Trump is so strong that I will stop even you and your cabinet from getting anything done.'"


"Absent some unanimous consent on process, we’re required to take it up immediately and it displaces everything else," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).


Some Republicans also argue the entire idea is unconstitutional, since Trump is out of office.


"It’s obvious that the post-presidential impeachment has never occurred in the history of the country for a reason -- that it’s unconstitutional, that it sets a bad precedent for the presidency and it continues to divide the nation," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)


Schumer called the arguments nonsense.


"It makes no sense whatsoever that a president -- or any official -- could commit a heinous crime against our country and then be permitted to resign so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office," Schumer said.


He also suggested a time agreement was still possible.


"I have been speaking to the Republican leader about the timing and duration of the trial," Schumer said. "Make no mistake -- there will be a trial and when that trial ends, senators will have to decide if they believe Donald John Trump incited the insurrection against the United States."