WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will send a single article of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, clearing the way for his trial to start next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
“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 (D-NY) said from the chamber floor Friday morning.
“I’ve spoken to Speaker Pelosi, who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Schumer said.
The Senate is constitutionally required to begin Trump’s impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted.
On Thursday evening, Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, proposed delaying the impeachment trial until mid-February, giving the former president’s legal team time to mount a defense.
McConnell’s plan would have seen the impeachment article presented to the Senate on Jan. 28, but on Friday, Schumer announced Democrats were pulling the trigger and clearing the way for proceedings in the upper chamber next week.
Donald Trump was impeached for a second time on January 13, 2021.ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images
On Friday, McConnell, the minority leader, warned against a rushed trial.
“This impeachment began with an unprecedentedly fast and minimal process over in the House,” McConnell said.
“The sequel cannot be an insufficient Senate process that denies former President Trump his due process or damages the Senate or the presidency itself.”
In his floor speech, McConnell noted his time frame, which would have allowed Trump’s legal team 14 days to prepare their pre-trial brief, would have been of great benefit to Biden.
“That timeline would have provided the Senate some more time before we step up fully into the unknown of a trial, which, by the way, would have been a substantial benefit to the incoming administration and allowed them to get more of their cabinet confirmed, which we are cooperating as best we can to expedite,” he said.
On Friday morning, the Senate confirmed retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as Biden’s Pentagon chief, making him just the second confirmed cabinet member in the Biden administration.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki this week said senators could simultaneously consider the legislation and Trump’s impeachment, but at least one GOP lawmaker, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, has already pushed back on that idea.
Close Biden ally Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Thursday also acknowledged that Democrats would have been happy to delay Trump’s impeachment trial if it meant the confirmation of Biden’s secretaries, admitting it would be a worthwhile “quid pro quo.”
“I think Democrats will be open to considering a delay that allows former President Trump time to assemble his legal team and his defense for the impeachment trial if we are making progress on confirming the very talented, seasoned and diverse team that President Joe Biden has nominated to serve in his cabinet,” Coons told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.