Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has not given any definite indication on when the article of impeachment against President Trump, passed by the House on Wednesday, might make its way to the Senate for any possible trial.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is urging that the latest round of impeachment articles, accusing President Trump of “inciting and insurrection,” be sent to the upper chamber “as soon as possible.”
Steny Hoyer says no decision has been made yet on when to send the article of impeachment to the Senate: “The Speaker’s talking to Mr. Schumer and will determine that, but I’m personally urging them to send it over as soon as possible.”
— Jason Donner (@jason_donner) January 13, 2021
Would The Senate Reconvene In Time For A Trial?
There is confusion in the Senate as well. Currently, the body is scheduled to reconvene on Jan. 19, the day before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
There is only one day, a pro forma session, scheduled before the official reconvening on Jan. 19.
The Senate is not allowed to do any business on that day without unanimous consent.
A 2004 resolution gives Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer the power to reconvene the Senate without unanimous consent which would create an emergency session.
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McConnell has said that he would not invoke this resolution, but Schumer may put the pressure on to do it.
My full statement on the next seven days and the Senate schedule: pic.twitter.com/Nh5z3f79yq
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) January 13, 2021
As it stands now, unless McConnell calls a special session, the Senate would not receive any articles of impeachment before Jan. 19, and a trial would not begin before 1pm on either Jan. 20 or 21, making Donald Trump at that time the ex-president.
However, Chuck Schumer has stated, “But make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate.”
Is Impeaching An Ex-President A Wise Use Of Senate Time?
This would put the United States Senate in a precarious situation. Should the trial move forward, the Senate at that point is committed to completing the process.
This puts other priorities, such as Biden administration nominees and COVID relief, on hold.
Biden has urged the Senate to do their “Constitutional responsibilities” while also attending to “other urgent business.”
Today, in a bipartisan vote, the House voted to impeach and hold President Trump accountable. Now, the process continues to the Senate—and I hope they’ll deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 14, 2021
There is also some question as to whether or not an ex-president can be impeached once he is a private citizen.
The United States Constitution provides for the process of impeachment, but says nothing about the timing of when the trial can take place.
What Exactly Is The Urgency About?
On Wednesday, Pelosi called the president, “a clear and present danger” as she urged members of the House to support impeachment.
But there seems to be some confusion there as well.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) said on Sunday that it may not be until after Biden’s first 100 days in office before the House would send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
But the urgency may be about more than a trial and conviction rather than how fast the articles of impeachment would reach the Senate.
According to reports from Vox, there is talk among Republicans that this second impeachment, and any subsequent trial and conviction, could bar Trump from ever running for office again.
From colleague John Roberts: A well-placed source tells me there is talk swirling among Republicans in Congress of a possible 2nd impeachment proceeding – and conviction against Trump – to insure he can’t run for re-election.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 7, 2021
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