The House voted to impeach President Tump for a second time yesterday, and all eyes now turn to the Senate, where lawmakers will hold a trial and eventually vote to either convict or acquit the President.
So far, we know a Senate impeachment trial is not going to start until Jan. 20 — the day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated — at the earliest.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not bringing the Senate back. In his note to colleagues Wednesday, McConnell said “while the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote, and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”
The list of what we still don’t know about the trial is a long one. Some key details that are still unclear include:
- We don’t know when the trial will start.
- We don’t know how long it is going to be.
As CNN reported last night, House managers met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday night to begin laying out the way the trial could go, but no decisions have been made about whether they would collect evidence or bring witnesses: two things that could extend when a trial would begin in the Senate. In other words, the next few days are going to be about trying to get clarity on those two questions.
While Democrats pushed hard to impeach Trump in the House, the reality of what a trial could mean for the opening days of Biden’s presidency is just sinking in.
Senate Democrats are still all over the map, according to several members and aides. And, Biden isn’t talking much to rank-and-file members about what he wants to see. So much of the timing of the trial will be based on whether McConnell and Schumer can work out an agreement that gives Biden time in the mornings to get some of his nominees. Again, anything in the Senate can move swiftly with agreement. Without it, the Senate is an excessively deliberate body.