Senate Strikes Deal on Schedule & Structure of Trump Impeachment Trial
How do you feel about the Senate’s impeachment trial structure?
by Causes | 2.11.21
- Former President Donald Trump's defense team has reportedly indicated that they will rest their case on Friday and forego the second day of presentations lasting up to 8 hours on Saturday. As a result, the anticipated schedule for the remainder of the trial is as follows:
- Thursday 2/11: Up to 8 hours of presentations by the impeachment managers.
- Friday 2/12: Up to 8 hours of presentations by the defense.
- Saturday 2/13: Question period for senators; debate about subpoenas and witnesses followed by a vote.
- Sunday 2/14: Closing arguments and final vote.
- The Senate's final version of the organizing resolution for the impeachment trial will have the chamber in session for proceedings every day until the trial concludes.
- Under the impeachment rules, the Senate typically forgoes a Sunday session during the impeachment trial, but the chamber has agreed to reconvene the trial at 2pm EST on Sunday.
UPDATE 2/8/21 (8:45pm ET)
- David Schoen, an attorney who is part of former President Trump's defense team, withdrew his request that the Senate pause proceedings from Friday night through Saturday. The timeline below has been adjusted accordingly.
What’s the story?
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday announced that they reached a compromise on an organizing resolution for the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. Here’s a look at how the trial will proceed.
Impeachment Trial Schedule & Structure
- The trial will begin on Tuesday with four hours of debate equally divided between the House impeachment managers and the former president’s counsel regarding the constitutionality of the trial. A simple majority is required for the trial to proceed, and given that the Senate recently voted in favor of the constitutionality of holding a trial for a former president it will likely do so again.
- Assuming the Senate votes in favor of the trial’s constitutionality, the Senate will hear presentations by the impeachment managers and the defense, respectively, starting on Wednesday at 12pm EST.
- Each side will have up to 16 hours to present their case, which must be made over no more than two days, and each day’s presentation will be limited to eight hours.
- Senators will then have a four hour period to ask questions of the impeachment managers and the defense.
- After the question period, there will be two hours of argument equally divided about whether it’s in order for the Senate to consider motions to subpoena witnesses and documents. The Senate would then vote on the matter with a simple majority required.
- If the Senate votes in favor, it will then vote on any motions to subpoena witnesses or documents that are put forward. Both legal teams would be allowed to depose witnesses and conduct discovery pursuant to a Senate resolution to be agreed later in the trial. This process could prolong the trial, as witnesses would have to be deposed before they can testify.
- A four hour period equally divided between the impeachment managers and defense would follow for closing arguments. After closing arguments and any requested deliberation time for senators, the Senate will vote on the article of impeachment with a two-thirds majority required for conviction.
- A member of President Trump’s legal team requested that no trial proceedings occur Friday after 5pm or on Saturday so that a lawyer can observe the Jewish Sabbath. He later withdrew that request, which will allow the trial to occur during those times, although he will not participate.
What’s the rough timeline for the trial?
- The timeline could be prolonged if the Senate decides to subpoena and depose witnesses or have a deliberation period after closing arguments, or accelerated if either legal team yields back time for presentation, but here’s a possible timeline for the trial:
- Tuesday 2/9: Debate and a vote regarding the constitutionality of the trial.
- Wednesday 2/10 & Thursday 2/11: Up to 16 hours of presentations by the impeachment managers.
- Friday 2/12 and Saturday 2/13: Up to 16 hours of presentations by the defense.
- Sunday 2/14: Question period for senators; debate about subpoenas and witnesses followed by a vote.
- Monday 2/15: Closing arguments and final vote.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Trump White House Archived via Flickr / Public Domain)
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