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Senate receives impeachment articles, takes first step toward trial

McConnell gets unanimous consent on measures expected to start trial Tuesday

House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson lead the House Democrats who will manage President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial through Statuary Hall on Wednesday to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson lead the House Democrats who will manage President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial through Statuary Hall on Wednesday to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate laid the groundwork to begin a trial on whether to remove President Donald Trump after a procession of House Democrats delivered impeachment articles Wednesday evening. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for unanimous consent on a series of measures to set the trial in motion. 

[Impeachment trial security crackdown will limit Capitol press access]

Those included an invitation for House managers to present the articles of impeachment Thursday and notify Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial. Measures also call for senators to set up an escort committee for Roberts, take an oath as jurors Thursday afternoon and have a photograph of them taking that oath. 

The agreement includes rules defining access restrictions and decorum in and around the Senate chamber during the trial.

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Under those rules, senators and House members will be allowed access, as will staffers with special impeachment trial credentials. In addition, visitors to the Capitol for official business will need to be escorted through the tunnels from the Senate office buildings by staffers with a special credential.

“This is a difficult time for our country, but this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate,” McConnell said after the measures were adopted. “I’m confident this body can rise above short-termism and factional fervor and serve the long-term best interests of our nation.”

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McConnell is expected to bring up a second agreement following the Thursday swearing-in, a resolution that notifies the president, specifies due dates for trial briefs from both the president and House managers, allows for printing of documents and materials and sets the trial to begin Tuesday. 

Thursday will be a busy day for the Senate. The chamber is also expected to vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which overhauls trade on the continent. 

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