Following the Democratic Party’s push to impeach then-President Donald Trump for a second time earlier this month, pundits and politicos speculated about when the articles that passed in the House would be presented to the Senate for a trial and possible conviction.
In a recent announcement, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York revealed that the impeachment trial will begin the week of Feb. 8.
No consensus on impeachment trial
He explained that the upper chamber would hear arguments regarding the former president’s second impeachment after newly elected senators have been sworn into office.
Democrats largely want the trial to commence as quickly as possible in order to capitalize on the remaining popular support for impeaching Trump on the argument that he incited a riot on Capitol Hill earlier this month.
The longer an impeachment trial drags on, the longer it will distract from President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. Furthermore, a prolonged legal battle on the issue is certain to impede Biden’s promise of a return to political normalcy.
Knowing that time is of the essence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) confirmed that she would deliver the latest article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday.
While Democrats hold a governing majority in the Senate, the path toward convicting Trump is far from straightforward.
“Going to blow up in their face”
According to The Hill, Schumer came to an agreement with GOP leader Mitch McConnell (KY) to read the article on Monday evening, just hours before incoming senators will be sworn in the following day. As for Trump’s role in the process, his attorneys face a Feb. 2 deadline to present a response and his pre-brief trial is due on Feb. 8.
That means the earliest that a trial could feasibly begin would be Feb. 9, at which time the House will be required to submit its pre-trial rebuttal.
Despite reports that McConnell could be convinced to vote in favor of convicting Trump, most Republicans appear to be united in opposition to the effort.
If McConnell does vote to convict, several Republicans have already begun to threaten his leadership position in the Senate. Of course, those in the GOP who do support the effort against Trump are primarily motivated by a desire to see him barred from seeking future federal elected office.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), however, recently opined that there is a growing number of Senate Democrats who are increasingly skeptical of the impeachment pursuit because they believe “this is going to blow up in their face politically.”