For only the third time in U.S. history, the Senate has officially launched the impeachment trial of a president. On the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 16, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn in to preside over the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, paving the way for the trial to officially begin on Jan. 21. It was a historic moment, but it also was not without its drama, particularly from the president himself. Trump's tweet ahead of the Senate impeachment trial doubled down on the president's continued insistence that he doesn't deserve to be impeached, and it did it in a particularly wild way.
Not long after Roberts administered a constitutional oath to members of the Senate, Trump took to Twitter to insist, in all caps, that he had done nothing wrong. "I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!" Trump tweeted on Thursday afternoon. The White House has previously characterized impeachment as Democrats' attempt to "weaponize politics" in a statement to Elite Daily, and did not respond to a request for comment on the outcome of the House of Representatives vote to impeach on Dec. 18. The tweet is a reference to Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the family of his domestic political rival, Joe Biden. Trump has admitted to the request, but denied any wrongdoing. A whistleblower complaint about the call, released in September 2019, was the push which started the current impeachment proceedings.
It didn't take long for Trump's fellow Twitter users to turn his tweet into a meme, mocking the president's use of all-caps and his repeated description of his phone call with Ukraine's president as "perfect."
While the impeachment trial appears to be (finally) underway, it took some time. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi initially withheld the articles of impeachment from the Senate out of concern that the Senate's Republican majority would not organize a fair trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to give in to Democratic lawmakers' requests to adjust the trial format, however. Representatives of McConnell did not previously return Elite Daily's request for comment on how the Senate trial would proceed. On Wednesday, Jan. 15, Pelosi appointed seven House lawmakers to serve as impeachment managers, and finally transmitted the impeachment articles to the Senate.
On Thursday, the House impeachment managers — who will serve as prosecutors during the Senate's impeachment trial — officially presented the articles of impeachment in the Senate chamber. The lead impeachment manager is California Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has been the target of Trump's ire in the past. Oral arguments for the trial are expected to begin Jan. 21.