Timeline for Trump incitement impeachment trial still uncertain

DC Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to send the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate Monday, but it’s unclear when a trial will actually begin as Democrats and Republicans work out rules for the proceedings.

The Democrat-led House has charged Trump with inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead. Under the impeachment rules set by the Constitution, the Senate will try him.

“There will be a vote whether to convict the president,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., promised on the Senate floor.

The trial could technically start as early as Tuesday, but senators have yet to set rules for it and Republicans are urging a delay into February to give Trump time to build his defense.

“Regardless of how you feel about President Trump, he is now a citizen, not president of the United States (and) is afforded due process,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said. “You’ve got to give him an opportunity to prepare.”

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said rushing to impeach could mean Democrats sabotage their own legislative agenda, noting a trial would mean “tying up the Senate for an extended period of time.”

Many Democrats are pushing to get on with it as soon as possible.

“Members of the United States Senate are more than an impeachment jury; we are eyewitnesses to what happened,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said. “The idea of inciting an insurrection against the government of the United States is probably the worst imaginable conduct by a president of the United States.”

But on Friday afternoon, President Joe Biden appeared to support Republicans’ extended timeline.

“The more time we have to get up and running to meet these crises, the better,” he said.

On Thursday, Trump hired South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers to defend him in the impeachment trial.

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