Despite her insistence of urgency, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has yet to formally deliver the recently passed article of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate, a move that is required for an impeachment trial to commence.
That delay is arguably the biggest reason why Senate leaders have yet to provide any details on what the impeachment trial will look like or when it will start, Fox News reported.
Pelosi’s office has not been forthcoming on when the impeachment article will be delivered, the receipt of which would immediately trigger impeachment trial proceedings, according to Senate rules, and would take sole precedence over all other business in the Senate.
That fact is likely the reason for Pelosi’s delay in delivering the article, as the immediate launch of a trial would mean that the Senate would be incapable of considering or voting on President Joe Biden’s nominees or legislative proposals until after the trial concluded.
Help Biden get started
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), soon to be the de facto majority leader in the 50-50 split Senate, hinted at this in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes over the weekend, when he insisted there would be a trial as it was “mandated by law.”
As for the timing of the trial and whether Biden’s agenda should be addressed prior to it commencing, Schumer said, “There’s a very, very real need for President Biden to have in place key people in his Cabinet,” as well as another round of pandemic-related economic relief.
“We must do all three and we have to do them all quickly. One cannot stand in the way of the other,” he said.
With regard to whether an impeachment trial was even necessary, given the fact that Trump has already left office, the senator said Trump must face accountability for his “despicable action” — but also revealed the desire to formally disqualify Trump from ever holding elected office again, the likely consequence of a conviction in the absence of a removal.
Questions abound on trial details
As noted by Politico, this impeachment trial will almost certainly be different than the one that occurred at the start of 2020.
Of course, it first must be determined whether a Senate trial for an ex-president is even legal or constitutional, and it remains unclear if the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the dubious trial as he did for the first one.
There are also questions yet to be answered regarding if any witnesses will be called to testify and who will serve on Trump’s legal defense team. There were no evidentiary hearings or witness testimony as part of a formal inquiry in the House.
The biggest question of all, however, is whether the two-thirds majority threshold for a conviction will be reached, as that would require 17 Republican senators to side with the Democrats against Trump, a futile goal for the first impeachment trial that is considered at least a possibility for this upcoming charade.