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Senate To Begin Trump's Impeachment Trial Week Of Feb. 8

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y at the U.S. Capitol Friday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y at the U.S. Capitol Friday.

The House of Representatives, which voted to impeach Trump last week, plans to transmit the article of impeachment on Monday evening.

Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the sole article of impeachment for incitement to insurrection against former President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday, a move that would trigger the start of a Senate trial against Trump.

"The Senate will conduct a trial on the impeachment of Donald Trump," Schumer said Friday on the Senate floor. "It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who must deliver the article, confirmed the move in a statement Friday. Once the article is transmitted, the trial process begins with notices sent and briefs requested of the two sides.

But later Friday, President Biden said a proposal by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to delay the impeachment trial would give his administration time to "get up and running" on the COVID-19 crisis.

McConnell said he had requested that Democrats wait until Jan. 28 to allow Trump's legal team more time to prepare and to give the Senate more floor time before the trial consumes its calendar. He criticized the Democrats' decision to move ahead with the process on the quicker timeline.

"This impeachment began with an unprecedentedly fast and minimal process in the House," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "The sequel cannot be an insufficient Senate process that denies former President Trump his due process or damages the Senate or the presidency itself."

McConnell and Schumer, D-N.Y., are still negotiating other details of an impeachment resolution needed to establish the rules and process for a trial. The two leaders must agree on parameters for critical issues such as what votes or motions are allowed and whether they plan to split time between impeachment proceedings and processing other business in the Senate.

Senate impeachment rules technically require all 100 senators to be present on the Senate floor and seated in their assigned seats six days a week until the trial is complete. Biden has asked that the Senate reach an agreement to split its time so that lawmakers can also consider his Cabinet nominees and major legislation such as a coronavirus relief package.

Republicans, such as Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, have bluntly rejected that idea.

"It's not going to happen," Cornyn told a pool of reporters in the Capitol. "It would take all 100 senators."

The negotiations come as some Republicans are publicly insisting it is unconstitutional to continue impeachment proceedings for a president who has already left office.

Schumer rejected that argument on Friday.

"It makes no sense whatsoever that a president, or any official, could commit a heinous crime against our country and then be permitted to resign in order to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office," Schumer said. "It makes no sense."

Separately, Jason Miller, a political aide to Trump, tweeted Thursday that Butch Bowers, a South Carolina defense attorney, has joined the former president's defense team. It's unclear who else will be part of that team.

Last week, the House voted to impeach Trump over his role in provoking the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.