The Senate will begin its impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Tuesday, and if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has his way, it will be a speedy affair that could be completed in just a few weeks.
The trial is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday, with seven House Democrats attempting to make the case the president committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” by withholding military aide from Ukraine as part of a scheme to force an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.
Here’s what we currently know about the impeachment trial and how it will play out:
The impeachment trial will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. The first order of business will likely be to pass McConnell’s proposed trial rules, which Republicans can do with a simple majority vote.
McConnell could also ask for a motion to dismiss the charges, which would end the trial immediately and lead to an acquittal. But moderate Republican senators have balked at that idea, and it’s unclear McConnell would have the votes needed.
After Tuesday, the Senate will convene at 1 p.m. every day of the week except Sunday for the duration of the trial.
C-SPAN, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and WHYY-TV will all offer live coverage of the impeachment trial beginning Tuesday afternoon, and will stream coverage on their respective websites and apps. In Philadelphia, viewers will also be able to watch coverage of Tuesday’s trial on 6ABC, CBS3, and NBC10, which will break into their normal programming and take network news coverage. Fox29 did not respond to an inquiry, but didn’t air live coverage of the impeachment hearings in November.
Here’s a breakdown of the cable network’s impeachment trial broadcast plans as of Monday evening:
On Monday night, McConnell unveiled the proposed rules for the trial, which are likely to pass and loosely modeled on those of the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton, but altered to allow for a swifter trial.
Under the proposed rules, the House managers and the president’s legal team would each have 24 hours to present their case, but have to use that time in a two-day period, which would allow McConnell to speed through opening arguments by the end of this week.
Following opening statements, senators would have up to 16 hours to ask questions of both sides, which would be submitted in writing and posed through Chief Justice john Roberts, who will preside over the Senate during the duration of the trial.
There are seven Democrats from the House that have been named to serve as impeachment managers during the Senate trial, where they will act at prosecutors. They are:
A mash-up of White House and private lawyers — many of whom are familiar TV pundits — will offer Trump’s defense during the Senate’s impeachment trial. They are:
That remains to be seen. According to McConnell’s proposed rules, decisions about witnesses or the addition of new evidence won’t be made until after Roberts finishes asking questions on behalf of senators.
Democrats need 51 votes to ensure witnesses have a chance to testify. There are 47 Democrats (including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Angus King, Independents who caucus with the Democrats), and if they remain unified on the issue, they’d need four Republican senators to vote with them
So far, three Republican senators have indicated they’re open to hearing from witnesses during the impeachment trial: Utah’s Mitt Romney, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, and Maine’s Susan Collins.
It’s hard to say before seeing the final rules. But Republicans will control the process, and McConnell is pushing for a speedy trial that has a chance of being concluded prior to the State of the Union address on Feb. 4