The second impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump begins on Tuesday, about a month after he was charged by the House with incitement of insurrection for his role in egging on a violent mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Here’s what you need to know.
How will the trial unfold?
Senate Democrats and Republicans, joined by the House impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s legal team, reached a bipartisan agreement on Monday that would pave the way for an especially quick and efficient proceeding that could be over by early next week.
The rules allow each side up to 16 hours to lay out its case. The Senate is poised to vote to approve the rules and formally begin the trial at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
Up to four hours will be devoted to debating the constitutionality of impeaching a president who is no longer in office. If a simple majority of senators agree to move forward, as expected, the main part of the trial begins.
Starting Wednesday, the prosecution and the defense will have 16 hours each to present their cases to the senators, who are serving as a jury. The oral arguments will continue at least through Friday, but could extend into next week.
Tradition dictates that senators are then allowed at least one day to ask questions. This time, senators may give House managers the option to force a debate and vote on calling witnesses, but it is unclear if they will choose to do so. The trial is expected to conclude with closing arguments and a final vote on whether to convict Mr. Trump.
The Trump Impeachment ›
What You Need to Know
- A trial is being held to decide whether former President Donald J. Trump is guilty of inciting a deadly mob of his supporters when they stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, violently breaching security measures and sending lawmakers into hiding as they met to certify President Biden’s victory.
- The House voted 232 to 197 to approve a single article of impeachment, accusing Mr. Trump of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” in his quest to overturn the election results. Ten Republicans joined the Democrats in voting to impeach him.
- To convict Mr. Trump, the Senate would need a two-thirds majority to be in agreement. This means at least 17 Republican senators would have to vote with Senate Democrats to convict.
- A conviction seems unlikely. Last month, only five Republicans in the Senate sided with Democrats in beating back a Republican attempt to dismiss the charges because Mr. Trump is no longer in office. On the eve of the trial’s start, 28 senators say they are undecided about whether to convict Mr. Trump.
- If the Senate convicts Mr. Trump, finding him guilty of “inciting violence against the government of the United States,” senators could then vote on whether to bar him from holding future office. That vote would only require a simple majority, and if it came down to party lines, Democrats would prevail with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote.
- If the Senate does not convict Mr. Trump, the former president could be eligible to run for public office once again. Public opinion surveys show that he remains by far the most popular national figure in the Republican Party.
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