What to expect from Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial
The action starts Tuesday. It might not last long.
The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, and the first impeachment trial of a former US president, will begin in earnest in the Senate this Tuesday.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have reached an agreement to govern the structure and timing of the trial, Schumer announced Monday afternoon.
The action will kick off at noon ET Tuesday, with four hours of debate and then a vote on whether the Senate can even hold an impeachment trial for a former president. There’s little suspense here — a similar vote last week made clear that a majority of senators believe they can do so.
Then, at noon on Wednesday, opening arguments will begin. The House impeachment managers will go first, with up to two days (16 hours total) for their case. Then Trump’s lawyers will get the same amount of time to present their defense. Next, senators will get to ask questions of both sides for four hours. After that, the Senate will vote on whether they should subpoena any witnesses or documents, if the impeachment managers request to do so. If they vote to do so, the trial will continue; if not, they’ll move toward a vote on the verdict.
There are signs this trial is likely to be a speedy one. Democratic leaders reportedly hope to finish it in about a week, rather than having it stretch over multiple weeks as Trump’s first trial and Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial did. It is unclear whether they will meet that schedule. (Schumer initially announced that the trial will break on Friday at sundown and resume Sunday afternoon, to allow one of Trump’s attorneys, David Schoen, to observe the Sabbath. But Schoen subsequently withdrew that request, so the schedule may change.)