Schumer, McConnell reach deal on Trump impeachment trial
Senate leadership announced on Monday that they have reached a deal on the framework for former President Trump’s impeachment trial, which will start on Tuesday.
“For the information of the Senate, the Republican leader and I, in consultation with both the House managers and Former President Trump’s lawyers, have agreed to a bipartisan resolution to govern the structure and timing of the impending trial,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said from the Senate floor.
“All parties have agreed to a structure that will ensure a fair and honest Senate impeachment trial of the former president,” Schumer said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed on the Senate floor that they have reached a deal, noting that it “preserves due process and the rights of both sides.”
“I’m pleased that Leader Schumer and I were able to reach an agreement on a fair process and estimated timeline for the upcoming Senate trial,” McConnell said. “It will give senators as jurors ample time to receive the case and the arguments.”
Schumer’s announcement comes after he disclosed during a press conference in New York earlier that they were finalizing an agreement.
The timeline would allow the trial to wrap up as early as next week, if both sides agree not to call witnesses.
Under the deal, the Senate will debate and vote on Tuesday on whether the trial is constitutional. The effort to declare the trial unconstitutional will fall short after Rand Paul (R-Ky.) forced a vote on the issue late last month. Forty-four GOP senators supported his effort.
Opening arguments will start on Wednesday. Under the deal, the House impeachment managers and Trump’s team will have 16 hours over two days each to present their case to the Senate.
That’s a faster pace than both the Clinton trial and the first Trump trial where both sides got 24 hours.
The deal also leaves the door open to calling witnesses. The House impeachment managers previously invited Trump to testify under oath, an offer his attorneys rejected. They haven’t yet said if they will try to get the Senate to call other witnesses.
The trial will also be paused on Saturday to accommodate a request from one of Trump’s attorneys to observe the Jewish Sabbath.
If both sides use all of their time, that would set up opening arguments to wrap on Sunday.
After that the Senate is expected to have time to ask questions of both sides, as well as potential deliberations. In previous trials, senators have had two days for the question-and-answer session. According to the resolution of the trial’s rules, senators will get four hours to ask questions.
Both sides will get two hours for closing arguments.
“As in previous trials, there will be equal time for senator questions and for closing arguments and an opportunity for the Senate to hold deliberations if it so chooses and then we will vote on the article of impeachment,” Schumer said.
The trial comes nearly five weeks after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Though Republicans fumed after Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol as lawmakers were counting the Electoral College result, Democrats are not expected to be able to get the 17 Republican votes needed to convict Trump.