Washington, 22 January 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The US House of Representatives is to send the article of impeachment against former president Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
The move would kick off the Senate hearing, which is similar to a trial in court, on a charge of incitement of insurrection over the deadly storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters on January 6.
“The article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection by Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday, January 25,” Pelosi said in a statement on Friday.
She said House managers “are ready to begin to make their case to 100 Senate jurors through the trial process.”
The House impeached Trump last week, accusing him of inciting the insurrection, as the violent mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol just after he used fiery rhetoric at a rally to promote baseless claims of election fraud.
The attack, which sought to halt lawmakers’ certification of now-President Joe Biden’s victory in the November election, left at least five people, including a police officer, dead.
Trump became the first president in history to be impeached twice.
In the Senate, a two-thirds majority is needed to convict. It is unclear how many Republicans might join the Democrats in such a vote, which could also bar Trump from holding office again.
The Democrats’ announcement about formally forwarding the charge against Trump to the Senate appeared to reject a request by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay the impeachment hearings until mid-February.
McConnell had proposed that the House should not send the impeachment article to the Senate until January 28. Then all parties would have a good two weeks until February 13 to prepare, and the Senate would have time to approve Biden’s cabinet nominees, he said.
McConnell has explicitly blamed Trump for the riot.
“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” the top Republican in Congress said earlier this week.
Trump, whose term ended on Wednesday, would be the first president to ever face an impeachment trial after leaving office.
Some Senate Republicans have cast doubt on the legality of trying a former president.
“I have heard some of my Republican colleagues argue that this trial would be unconstitutional because Donald Trump is no longer in office, an argument that has been roundly repudiated,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said from the Senate floor on Friday.
“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.”