What are impeachment trial rules that the Senate has proposed?
The Senate has now laid out what Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial will look like, including how long arguments on both sides will last.
Donald Trump will not be testifying at his own impeachment trial, but we do know who will be giving evidence and the proposed schedule for how things should play out, thanks to an announcement Monday by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The trial is due to run through the weekend, but it is yet unclear exactly how long it will run on for, as this depends heavily upon whether witnesses are called or not. Some Democrats are keen to call witnesses in order to thoroughly investigate the events of the Capitol riot on 6 January, whereas others are keen to move quickly beyond that, in order to begin with the business of confirming Biden’s cabinet nominees and debating spending legislation. Calling witnesses could delay the process by weeks or even months, say USA Today.
What are the impeachment trial rules agreed in Senate?
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on the Senate floor Monday that the following trial rules had been agreed by Senate Republicans and Democrats, as well as the House managers (prosecution) and Trump's legal team (defence).
"The structure we have agreed to is eminently fair," Schumer said. "It will allow for the trial to achieve its purpose: truth and accountability."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday praised the agreement that was reached, saying that it "preserves due process and the rights of both sides...it will give senators as jurors ample time to review the case and the arguments that each side will present," McConnell said.
The bipartisan parameters are as follows:
Tuesday, 9 February, 1pm ET: Tuesday’s opening statements centred on the question of whether the trial is constitutional or not. Following four hours of statements split equally between prosecution and defence, a vote of 56-44 deemed that the trial was indeed constitutional and will succeed. Trump’s defence team claimed that the constitution states that an ex-president cannot be tried for impeachment.
Wednesday, 10 February, 12pm ET through to Friday: The House of Representatives will argue its case; prosecutors and defence will be given up to 16 hours each to present their arguments, with neither side permitted to present for more than eight hours per day.
Friday, 12 February, 5pm ET: Senate breaks for Saturday (TBC whether break will be Saturday or Sunday at time of writing)
Sunday, 14 February, 2pm ET: Senate trial reconvenes Sunday afternoon, continuing presentation of arguments.
Following up to 16 hours each of arguments from prosecutors and defence, senators will have four hours to give questions. If Democrat Impeachment Managers decide to bring witnesses, four hours of debate split between Republicans and Democrats will take place, then the Senate will vote on whether witnesses are permitted.
Once witnesses and evidence have been presented to the Senate, there will be four hours of closing arguments split between both sides.
Finally, there will be a vote on conviction or acquittal. A two-thirds majority is required to convict, which would mean all Democrats plus 17 Republican senators voting in favour of conviction.
What’s Trump being impeached for?
In the US Constitution, impeachment is appropriate when a President or other federal official has committed one of the violations described as “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” It allows a President to be removed from office; and after the trial the Senate could subsequently vote to disqualify Trump from ever holding federal office again.
The article of impeachment drawn up by Democrats the very night of 6 January, when an insurrection on the Capitol complex endangered hundreds and killed five is brief. It charges Trump with threatening “the integrity of the democratic system”, interfering “with the peaceful transition of power”, and imperilling “a coequal branch of Government.