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Pelosi to send impeachment article to Senate on Monday

Senate trial would start Tuesday absent unanimous consent agreement to delay the proceedings

The signed article of impeachment is seen at the end of an engrossment ceremony in the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.
The signed article of impeachment is seen at the end of an engrossment ceremony in the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The House will send its impeachment article charging President Donald Trump with incitement of insurrection to the Senate on Monday, triggering the start of the Senate trial on Tuesday unless the chamber’s leaders reach a unanimous consent agreement to delay the proceedings.

“I have spoken to Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in floor remarks Friday.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial, it will be a fair trial,” the New York Democrat added.

[Delaying impeachment trial could benefit both parties]

The Senate traditionally begins its deliberations, sitting as the court of impeachment, at 1 p.m. the day after the impeachment manager’s presentation and holds court daily, except Sundays, at noon until the trial concludes. Those times can be changed but only with unanimous consent of all 100 senators.

If the House managers walk the impeachment article over to the Senate on Monday, the trial would start Tuesday, absent a unanimous consent agreement between Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to set a different schedule.

Schumer said he and McConnell have been talking about the timing and duration of the trial, but they do not yet have an agreement.

“We suggest the House transmit this article next Thursday, but that’s apparently going to be next Monday,” McConnell said in floor remarks following Schumer’s, seemingly caught off guard by the majority leader’s announcement.

McConnell on Thursday had presented Schumer with a proposed pretrial schedule that would have the House managers present the impeachment article to the Senate on Jan. 28, with pretrial filing deadlines for the prosecution and the defense throughout the following weeks. Under McConnell’s proposed schedule, designed to give Trump time to set up a defense, the final brief would be due Feb. 13, delaying the official start of the trial until mid-February.

Schumer did not address McConnell’s proposal in his floor remarks Friday, other than to note that he was talking with the Kentucky Republican about the trial schedule.

“I can’t imagine that both McConnell and Schumer don’t want to have a little more structure here, and particularly Schumer, leave a little more time to move forward with the early Biden decisions before we get locked into the trial,” Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman Roy Blunt of Missouri told reporters on Friday.

The House on Jan. 13 voted 232-197 to approve the impeachment article, with 10 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting the incitement of insurrection charge.

The Senate was out of session at that time and not scheduled to return until Jan. 19. Schumer had wanted to use a 2004 emergency reconvening authority to bring the Senate back early, but he needed a signoff from McConnell, who declined.

McConnell on Friday criticized the House rushing its impeachment and said the Senate must provide Trump due process in the trial. “The sequel cannot be an insufficient process,” he said.

Pelosi in a statement dismissed the notion Democrats are being unfair to Trump.

“We are respectful of the Senate’s constitutional power over the trial and always attentive to the fairness of the process, noting that the former president will have had the same amount of time to prepare for trial as our Managers,” the California Democrat said. “Our Managers are ready to begin to make their case to 100 Senate jurors through the trial process.”

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