Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is set to begin today (Feb. 9), just over a month after the Jan. 6 insurrection that led the House of Representatives to impeach him. On Monday (Feb. 8), Senate leaders agreed to give the former president’s impeachment lawyers up to 16 hours to present their case.
Trump’s legal team previously condemned the trial as “political theater,” according to CNN.
“This was only ever a selfish attempt by Democratic leadership in the House to prey upon the feelings of horror and confusion that fell upon all Americans across the entire political spectrum upon seeing the destruction at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by a few hundred people,” his counsel wrote in a statement on Monday.
“Instead of acting to heal the nation, or at the very least focusing on prosecuting the lawbreakers who stormed the Capitol, the Speaker of the House and her allies have tried to callously harness the chaos of the moment for their own political gain.”
House impeachment managers fired back, saying that the evidence supporting a conviction against Trump is “overwhelming.”
“President Trump’s repeated claims about a ‘rigged’ and ‘stolen’ election were false, no matter how many contortions his lawyers undertake to avoid saying so,” they wrote in their own statement. “The evidence of President Trump’s conduct is overwhelming. He has no valid excuse or defense for his actions. And his efforts to escape accountability are entirely unavailing.”
On Monday, the Senate, House managers and Trump’s lawyers agreed on the trial rules, but they will be officially put to a vote later today. Then, the Senate will open the four-hour debate on the constitutionality of the trial and put it to a vote, which is expected to pass.
“The structure we have agreed to is eminently fair,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “It will allow for the trial to achieve its purpose: truth and accountability.”
The trial will continue at noon EST tomorrow (Feb. 10) for House managers to make their cases to the Senate, which will last for two days. Trump’s lawyers will then have two days to make their cases, followed by a session where the Senate can ask questions of both legal teams.
Schumer added that the trial will proceed the same as past impeachment trials, such as Trump’s in 2019.