Senate To Conduct Usual Business Before Starting 2nd Impeachment Trial Against Former President Trump

Monday, January 25th 2021, 5:48 pm
By: Alex Cameron


A somber ritual that Americans have become familiar with was to play out tonight in the halls of the United States Capitol: House impeachment managers hand-delivering to the Senate a lone article of impeachment, charging President Trump with incitement of insurrection.

Just over one year ago, House managers sent two articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial, which resulted in Trump's acquittal.

Transference of the impeachment article, which was approved with a bipartisan majority in the House two weeks ago, triggers a requirement that the Senate hold a trial.

The new majority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the new minority leader, reached an agreement to start the trial on Monday, Feb. 8.

The nine impeachment managers, appointed by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will prosecute the case against now-former President Trump. Since a two-thirds majority is needed for conviction, at least 17 Republicans would have to go along with all 50 Democrats and Independents in voting to convict.

Some Republican senators have argued the Constitution doesn't allow for the impeachment trial of a president who is no longer in office.

Many more said a trial is just a bad idea because it will deepen the national divide.

"I think it's counter-productive," said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida. "We already have a flaming fire in this country and it's like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire."

Less than a week after President Trump's departure and President Joe Biden's inauguration, the Capitol remains under heavy guard.

The majority of the 25,000 National Guard members who helped secure the Capitol last week have gone home, but about 7,000 still remain; the number is expected to be reduced to 5,000 before all are sent home in mid-March.

Although senators were to be sworn in as jurors for the impeachment trial Monday night, they still have plenty to do as lawmakers before the trial begins in two weeks.

The Senate is slowly working through some of Biden's Cabinet nominees. Janet Yellen was approved as Treasury secretary on Monday night with a vote of 84-15, but there can be no progress on major initiatives, such as Biden's plans to speed up vaccine delivery and provide Americans with another round of stimulus checks until Schumer and McConnell can agree on an organizing resolution for the 117th Congress.

Essentially, it comes down to whether Schumer and the Democrats insist on doing away with the legislative filibuster, which would give Democrats the ability to push through the president's agenda without GOP buy-in, or, as Biden himself seems to prefer, keep the filibuster and force bipartisan compromise.

"The president has been clear, he wants to work with members of both parties and find bipartisan paths forward," said White Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

In the meantime, Biden has signed numerous executive orders. Some of them, such of those canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement, and stopping work on border walls, have drawn criticism from Oklahoma's members of Congress.

More significantly, members will soon have to decide whether to support the president's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package.