Leaders of the US Senate on Monday (local time) announced that they have reached a deal on the framework for former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, which is set to begin on Tuesday.
“For the information of the Senate, the Republican leader and I, in consultation with both the House managers and former President Trump’s lawyers, have agreed to a bipartisan resolution to govern the structure and timing of the impending trial,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said from the Senate floor, The Hill reported. “All parties have agreed to a structure that will ensure a fair and honest Senate impeachment trial of the former president,” he added.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also confirmed on the Senate floor that they have reached a deal, noting that it “preserves due process and the rights of both sides.”
“I’m pleased that leader Schumer and I were able to reach an agreement on a fair process and estimated timeline for the upcoming Senate trial… It will give senators as jurors ample time to receive the case and the arguments,” he said.
The timeline would allow the trial to wrap up as early as next week, if both sides agree not to call witnesses, according to The Hill.
Under the deal, the Senate will debate and vote on Tuesday on whether or not the trial is constitutional. The deal also leaves the door open to calling witnesses.
Opening arguments will start on Wednesday. Under the deal, the House impeachment managers and Trump’s team will have 16 hours over two days each to present their case to the Senate.
“As in previous trials, there will be equal time for senator’ questions and for closing arguments and an opportunity for the Senate to hold deliberations if it so chooses and then we will vote on the article of impeachment,” Schumer said.
The House of Representatives last month impeached the former president for inciting violence against the government over his role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, which also claimed the life of a police officer.
However, the former President’s lawyers argue that Trump is constitutionally ineligible to face an impeachment trial because he’s no longer in office. They added that even if senators found the proceedings constitutional, his comments were protected under the First Amendment.