(Reuters) – The US House of Representatives, led by Democrats, voted Wednesday to send the Senate political trial charges against President Donald Trump, where majority leader Mitch McConnell said he would help absolve his fellow Republican in a trial.
Democratic lawmakers, who represent the majority of the House, voted in line with the party on December 18 to accuse Trump of his dealings with Ukraine.
This is what you can expect in the coming days and weeks:
Thursday at 12 p.m. EDT / 1700 GMT, the newly appointed “managers” of the House, who will prosecute Trump, will go to the Senate chamber and read the resolution that designates them and the two articles of political trial as a whole.
The charges say Trump abused his power by pressing Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the top Democratic presidential candidates for 2020, and that Trump obstructed Congress’s efforts to discover any misconduct.
At 2 pm. On Thursday, the Senate will resume the articles of political judgment. The president of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, will be escorted to the chamber by the Republican senator with more years of service, Chuck Grassley. Roberts will then swear in the senators as jurors.
As of January 21
House managers will present their case against Trump, and the president’s legal team will respond, with senators sitting as jurors. McConnell has said that the Senate will meet in session six days a week, and that it will be taken only on Sundays.
Senators would have time to submit questions on each side.
McConnell has said that once the charges are formally presented to the Senate, he will support a resolution that would establish the initial rules for the trial, but will postpone a decision on whether to listen to witnesses.
McConnell has not yet published a draft resolution, but said it would be similar to one adopted in January 1999 during the political trial of former Democratic President Bill Clinton.
That resolution established deadlines for the prosecution and the defense to submit “writings of judgment” to present their cases in writing. The resolution also assigned representatives to each side 24 hours to present oral arguments and set aside 16 hours for senators to ask questions.
Clinton’s resolution to which McConnell referred did not resolve whether witnesses would be called. A follow-up resolution that allows three witnesses to testify on videotaped statements approved later in a party line vote.
End of January to beginning of February
Democrats will press to listen to witnesses during the trial. If McConnell’s resolution on the initial rules of the trial is adopted, as expected, the senators would probably vote some time after the trial has begun on whether the testimony of witnesses sought by the Democrats should be presented. Republicans could also try calling their own witnesses, although the White House said Thursday it did not believe the witnesses were necessary.
The Senate now has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents who generally vote with Democrats. That means that four Republicans would have to cross the party lines and join the Democrats to request the testimony of witnesses.
The trial could continue until February, when Iowa and New Hampshire hold the first nomination contests for the 2020 presidential elections. That could pose logistical problems for the four senators seeking the Democratic nomination: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet
Reports by David Morgan, Jan Wolfe and Susan Cornwell; edition by Andy Sullivan, Grant McCool and Cynthia Osterman