Los Angeles Times

Trump’s im­peach­ment trial set to start week of Feb. 8

Pelosi says House will send ar­ti­cle to Se­nate on Mon­day

- By Jen­nifer Haberkorn

WASH­ING­TON — House Democrats will send the ar­ti­cle of im­peach­ment against for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump to the Se­nate on Mon­day and the trial will start no sooner than Feb. 9 to al­low time for the House and the for­mer pres­i­dent to pre­pare, un­der a frame­work an­nounced Fri­day.

The time­line, an­nounced by Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) and agreed to by Mi­nor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell (R-Ky.), calls for the House to for­mally walk over the ar­ti­cle to the Se­nate on Mon­day. On Tues­day, sen­a­tors will be sworn in for their im­peach­ment du­ties and a sum­mons will be is­sued for

Trump.

From there, the House and Trump’s le­gal team will have two weeks to write briefs while the Se­nate does other business, in­clud­ing con­firm­ing Cab­i­net ap­pointees for the new Bi­den administra­tion. The trial will be­gin the week of Feb. 8, one week ear­lier than a pro­posal floated Thurs­day by Mc­Connell.

“The Se­nate will con­duct a trial of the im­peach­ment of Don­ald Trump,” Schumer said ear­lier in the day. “It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial.”

The deal marks a sub­stan­tive agree­ment by Schumer and Mc­Connell — the first of the new Demo­cratic-led Se­nate — and sets up the process for a high

pro­file im­peach­ment trial that will com­pete with the pri­or­i­ties of the young Bi­den administra­tion and its Demo­cratic al­lies on Capi­tol Hill.

Trump was im­peached by the House on a charge of in­cit­ing the Jan. 6 mob that at­tacked the Capi­tol, mak­ing him the only pres­i­dent to be im­peached twice and the first to stand trial af­ter leav­ing of­fice. Repub­li­cans are al­ready lay­ing the ground­work to try to dele­git­imize the process.

Un­der strict Se­nate rules, if the ar­ti­cle had moved on Mon­day with­out an agree­ment, the trial would have been re­quired to start the fol­low­ing day.

A spokesman for Mc­Connell said the time­line al­lows enough time to re­spect “for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s rights and due process, the in­sti­tu­tion of the Se­nate, and the of­fice of the pres­i­dency.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Fran­cisco) said ear­lier Fri­day that she would move the ar­ti­cle by Mon­day, an an­nounce­ment that put pres­sure on Repub­li­cans to ne­go­ti­ate. Se­nate Democrats were also mo­ti­vated to set up a process that would not in­ter­fere with con­fir­ma­tions or un­der­mine the cred­i­bil­ity of the trial by mov­ing too fast.

Sev­eral ques­tions re­main about how the trial will pro­ceed. It is not yet known whether Chief Jus­tice John G. Roberts Jr. will pre­side as he did dur­ing the last im­peach­ment trial of Trump. The Con­sti­tu­tion ap­points the chief jus­tice to over­see an im­peach­ment trial of the pres­i­dent, and Trump is no longer pres­i­dent.

There is also no de­ter­mi­na­tion yet of how long the trial will last, although it is widely be­lieved it would not be nearly as long as last year’s nearly three-week trial, which ended with Trump’s ac­quit­tal. This time it could be as brief as 24 hours of ar­gu­ment spread over three days. Nor have de­ci­sions been made about whether wit­nesses will be called.

Some Repub­li­cans — led by Sen. Tom Cot­ton (RArk.) — say the trial is un­con­sti­tu­tional be­cause Trump is no longer in of­fice. They have taken to call­ing him “cit­i­zen Trump” in­stead of “Pres­i­dent Trump” to drive home their point that pres­i­den­tial im­peach­ments were de­signed by the founders to re­move sit­ting pres­i­dents, not pun­ish for­mer ones.

Democrats dis­pute that charge, not­ing that the Se­nate has a prece­dent for con­duct­ing an im­peach­ment trial af­ter an of­fi­cial has left of­fice, al­beit not a pres­i­dent.

They also note that if

Trump is con­victed, a sec­ond vote could be held to bar him from hold­ing fu­ture of­fice.

Given the high bar of twothirds of sen­a­tors needed for con­vic­tion, Democrats are al­ready con­sid­er­ing their next steps. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is con­sid­er­ing how to use the 14th Amend­ment — which specif­i­cally pro­hibits some­one from of­fice if they have “en­gaged in in­sur­rec­tion” against the United States” — to bar Trump from ever hold­ing of­fice again. The idea is in its in­fancy.

“I want to fo­cus as much at­ten­tion right now on the

Bi­den agenda as pos­si­ble, and min­i­mize the at­ten­tion on any­thing other than the Bi­den agenda,” Kaine said. “One of the things I like about the 14th Amend­ment is it’s a res­o­lu­tion de­bated on the floor. It’s not a trial. It’s not a pro­tracted pro­ceed­ing.”

There are signs that Trump, who is now in Florida, is be­gin­ning to pre­pare for trial. Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham (R-S.C.) said Thurs­day that Trump had hired South Carolina lawyer Butch Bow­ers to rep­re­sent him.

The de­lay will give Democrats time to con­firm Pres­i­dent Bi­den’s Cab­i­net ap­pointees,

who have been ap­proved at a much slower pace than the start of other ad­min­is­tra­tions. Once the trial is un­der­way, other Se­nate business will grind to a halt be­cause the Se­nate’s rules re­quire the trial to be­gin ev­ery day at 1 p.m. and con­tinue un­til there is a vote on con­vic­tion.

The only way around that is a deal among all sen­a­tors. Repub­li­cans re­jected Bi­den’s re­quest that the Se­nate bi­fur­cate its work into us­ing the morn­ing for con­fir­ma­tions and af­ter­noons for trial.

“We’re not go­ing to split the day. At least I wouldn’t,”

Gra­ham said. “That’s the business of the Se­nate, once we go into it. They’re choos­ing to do this. We’re go­ing to do it the way we’ve al­ways done it. We’ve never split the day.”

Pelosi said in a state­ment that the House is “at­ten­tive” to the fair­ness of the process. She noted that the House man­agers re­spon­si­ble for pre­sent­ing the case to the Se­nate will have as much time to pre­pare as the pres­i­dent does.

“Our man­agers are ready to be­gin to make their case to 100 Se­nate ju­rors through the trial process,” Pelosi said.

 ?? Sarah Sil­biger Getty Images ?? FOR­MER Pres­i­dent Trump was im­peached by the House on a charge of in­cit­ing the Jan. 6 mob that at­tacked the U.S. Capi­tol. Above, some of the Na­tional Guard troops de­ployed to bol­ster se­cu­rity tour the build­ing.
Sarah Sil­biger Getty Images FOR­MER Pres­i­dent Trump was im­peached by the House on a charge of in­cit­ing the Jan. 6 mob that at­tacked the U.S. Capi­tol. Above, some of the Na­tional Guard troops de­ployed to bol­ster se­cu­rity tour the build­ing.
 ?? J. Scott Ap­ple­white Associated Press ?? “IT WILL be a full trial. It will be a fair trial,” said Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer, left.
J. Scott Ap­ple­white Associated Press “IT WILL be a full trial. It will be a fair trial,” said Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer, left.
 ?? Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images ?? MARINE ONE passes the Na­tional Mall with Pres­i­dent Trump aboard af­ter leav­ing the White House on Wed­nes­day, hours be­fore Pres­i­dent Bi­den’s in­au­gu­ra­tion. Trump’s sec­ond im­peach­ment trial will be­gin no sooner than Feb. 9 to al­low both sides to pre­pare.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images MARINE ONE passes the Na­tional Mall with Pres­i­dent Trump aboard af­ter leav­ing the White House on Wed­nes­day, hours be­fore Pres­i­dent Bi­den’s in­au­gu­ra­tion. Trump’s sec­ond im­peach­ment trial will be­gin no sooner than Feb. 9 to al­low both sides to pre­pare.

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