At the first Trump impeachment trial, House impeachment managers also used video to bolster their case that Trump had pushed for Ukraine’s help to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden. The use of video for the upcoming trial is even more compelling given the disturbing images and video that have emerged of rioters ransacking the Capitol and attacking police officers.
It remains to be seen how long the trial will last, whether the House impeachment managers will seek witnesses and what the exact contours of the President’s legal defense will be.
Roberts will not be presiding like he did for the first trial, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN Monday.
Instead, Sen. Patrick Leahy, the president pro tempore of the Senate, is expected to preside, the sources said. The Constitution says the chief justice presides when the person facing trial is the current president of the United States, but senators preside in other cases, one source said, and Trump’s second trial will take place with him no longer in office.
The likelihood that Leahy will oversee the trial has raised questions about whether he will also be eligible to vote, but constitutional experts say that nothing would stop him from doing so.
It would take a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict Trump, a high bar to clear that looks increasingly unlikely to happen as a number of Senate Republicans are already arguing that it’s illogical and may be unconstitutional to impeach a former president.
Senate Republicans are hosting conservative legal scholar Jonathan Turley at their party lunch on Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Turley is one of the lead scholars arguing that impeaching Trump when he is out of office is unconstitutional.
Turley has written extensively in recent days about his belief that while reasonable people can disagree about whether or not it is constitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a former President, he wrote recently on his blog, “even if the Senate does not view this as extraconstitutional, it should view this trial as Constitutionally unsound.”
Under the agreement reached by Schumer and McConnell, several ceremonial functions of the trial will take place this week. On Tuesday, the Senate is also expected to issue a summons to Trump, another step in the process of organizing for the trial to kick into high gear.
Then the trial will effectively be put on hold as the impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team exchange pre-trial briefs for two weeks. The final briefs would be due on February 9, allowing the trial to begin in earnest.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesdays.