Trump Impeachment Senate trial: What you need to know

Mitch McConnell believes Senate impeachment trial will begin next Tuesday 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expects the Senate to begin President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Tuesday, Jan. 21, according to multiple media reports.

The Washington Examiner and NBC reported Tuesday afternoon on McConnell’s predictions for the trial start date.


The House will vote Wednesday on sending Trump’s articles of impeachment over to the Senate, several people told The Associated Press on Tuesday. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Democratic leaders Tuesday morning to discuss the next steps in Trump’s impeachment trial. 

Pelosi suggested the House vote on Wednesday to transmit the charges and name the House managers for the case, according to one Democratic aide unauthorized to discuss the closed-door meeting.

Pelosi reportedly plans to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday to announce the House managers, who will prosecute the case in the Senate.

House Democrats impeached Trump in December despite protests from such Republicans as Georgia’s Doug Collins, saying they were rushing the process. Then, Pelosi refused to immediately transmit the articles over to the Senate, prompting another GOP outcry.

Pelosi has been unsuccessfully pressuring Senate leaders to meet her impeachment trial demands, which include hearing from witnesses who were not called during the Democrat-led House impeachment hearings.

Donald Trump has become the third American president to be impeached. Trump has been charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Led by Democrats, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the articles of impeachment on Dec. 18, 2019. Trump will face trial in the GOP-controlled Senate in 2020, a presidential election year. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were also impeached. Neither was removed from office.

Over the weekend, Pelosi said senators who don’t allow new witness testimony “will pay a price.”

“It’s about a fair trial,” Pelosi said. “The senators who are thinking now about voting for witnesses or not, they will have to be accountable.” 

Last week, Pelosi said she would send over the two articles of impeachment this week, more than a month after House Democrats adopted them. Despite Democrats’ professed sense of urgency in impeaching Trump, Pelosi has delayed sending the charges over, or name the trial’s House managers, until McConnell announced how the trial will proceed. 

U.S. House Democrats have drafted two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. House leaders are charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. They announced the articles of impeachment on Dec. 10, 2019. A full House impeachment vote could come before Christmas. If passed, the president would face a Senate trial in 2020, a presidential election year.

In the weeks since Trump was impeached, Democrats have focused on new evidence about Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and they pushed the Senate to consider new testimony, including from former White House national security adviser John Bolton.

Trump faces charges that he abused power by pushing Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and then obstructed Congress. 

McConnell has advocated for weeks that a Trump impeachment trial would follow the same model as Bill Clinton’s in 1999.

President Bill Clinton was impeached on perjury and obstruction of Congress charges on Dec. 19, 1998. He was acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 12, 1999. Fourteen senators from that trial still remain in office. Here's how they voted. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Not guilty on both counts Michael D. Crapo, R-Idaho. Guilty on both counts Richard Durbin, D-Illinois. Not guilty on both counts Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming. Guilty on both counts Dianne Feinstein, D-California. Not guilty on both counts Charles Grassley, R-Iow

Pelosi has been facing increased pressure from within her own party to transmit the articles. Connecticut Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as Democratic stalwart Dianne Feinstein of California, all urged Pelosi to transmit the articles.

McConnell already has enough votes to defeat any Democratic notions of calling witnesses who did not testify during Trump’s House impeachment hearings. Two key GOP moderates, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both agree with McConnell that a Trump impeachment trial should follow the Clinton guidelines. 

The Constitution requires a two-thirds Senate majority to convict in an impeachment trial, thus making Trump’s actual removal from office highly unlikely.