When Will The Senate Impeachment Trial Start? Things Are Moving Forward
In December 2019, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump, just before breaking for the holidays. The White House previously referred to impeachment as Democrats' attempt to "weaponize politics," but did not respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on the vote at the time. Now that Congress is officially back in session for the new year, lawmakers have been facing increased pressure to announce a start date for the Senate impeachment trial. After nearly a month of waiting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly decided that the House would vote on Jan. 15 to send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate, per The New York Times, thereby allowing Trump's impeachment trial to begin.
On Tuesday, Jan. 14, Pelosi met with her fellow Democratic lawmakers to outline her plans to move forward in the impeachment process, according to CNN. Pelosi announced that same day that the House would vote the next day — Jan. 15 — to transmit their impeachment charges against Trump to the Senate. "The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial," Pelosi said in a Jan. 14 statement.
If the vote succeeds, then Pelosi may appoint House impeachment managers later that same day, per The New York Times. These managers would then formally present the articles of impeachment to the Senate — the last step remaining before Trump's impeachment trial can officially take place. NBC News reported that a House vote on Jan. 15 could pave the way for Trump's impeachment trial to start as early as Tuesday, Jan. 21.
Ever since the House successfully impeached Trump in December, Pelosi has put off sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate over disagreement about how the Senate would conduct its trial. On Friday, Jan. 10, however, Pelosi signaled that she was ready to end this standoff with Republican lawmakers, and announced that she would soon transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate. During her closed-door meeting with Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday, Pelosi reportedly confirmed this plan.
Even as Pelosi stood firm in her resolve to withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that he is no rush to hold an impeachment trial. He has repeatedly rejected Democratic lawmakers' calls for key Trump administration officials to testify during the trial, indicated he would not allow introduction of any new evidence, and declined Pelosi's request to provide her with the Senate's planned trial rules ahead of time. "There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure," McConnell said on Jan. 8. "We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats' turn is over. The Senate has made its decision." Elite Daily reached out to representative of McConnell for comment on the possible trial procedure, but did not immediately hear back.
The start date for the impeachment trial will largely depend on whether or not the House will actually hold a floor vote on Jan. 15. But given Pelosi's recent remarks to fellow lawmakers, Trump's trial could begin as early as next week.