Democratic leader promises ‘full’ and ‘fair’ trial of the former president on charges of incitement to insurrection.
The United States Senate will move forward with a second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” as soon as next week, Senate leaders said on Friday.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has informed the Senate she will transmit the House’s article of impeachment of Trump to the Senate on Monday, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced.
“Make no mistake, a trial will be held in the United States Senate and there will be a vote whether to convict the president,” Schumer said in remarks to the Senate.
“It will be a fair trial. It will be a full trial,” Schumer said.
The House voted 232 to 197 on January 13 to impeach the former president for “incitement of insurrection”.
Thousands of Trump supporters had gathered in Washington, DC on January 6 to hear the president speak at a rally. The pro-Trump crowd marched on the US Capitol and hundreds stormed past police barricades to invade the halls of Congress. Five people died in the violence.
Pelosi had said on Thursday moving forward with a Senate impeachment trial of Trump would not hurt the new “unity” that President Joe Biden is calling for in Washington.
“The fact is, the president of the United States, committed an act of incitement of insurrection,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill the day after Biden was sworn in as president.
Pelosi’s delivery of the article of impeachment on Monday would trigger Senate rules requiring it to conduct a trial.
Republicans in the Senate appear divided on the whether Trump is guilty of incitement. Some have called for Trump’s impeachment while others have cast it as another partisan attack by Democrats on the former president which should be rejected.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has blamed Trump for provoking the crowd on January 6. On Friday, he called for fairness and due process in the handling of the trial.
“Senate Republicans strongly believe we need a full and fair process where the former president can mount a defence and the Senate can properly consider the factual, legal and constitutional questions at stake,” McConnell said.
Trump has hired South Carolina lawyer Butch Bowers to help with his defence, according to media reports. Bowers is a former Justice Department lawyer in the Bush administration and a friend of Senator Lindsey Graham, a leading defender of the former president.
Trump was previously impeached by the House in 2019 for abuse of power and was acquitted in the Senate in 2020 after a trial.