Bitter Senate impeachment trial of Trump could bog down Biden’s early days By Reuters

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By Susan Cornwell and David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The second impeachment trial of President Donald Trump by the US House of Representatives, for inciting last week’s deadly uproar on Capitol Hill, could spark a bitter fight in the Senate that entangles the first days of the president. elect the term of Joe Biden. Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be indicted twice when the House voted 232-197 on Wednesday to accuse him of inciting the unrest. Ten of Trump’s fellow Republicans joined with Democrats in passing the impeachment article. But the speedy impeachment trial is unlikely to lead to Trump’s impeachment before Biden takes office on January 20. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, rejected Democratic calls for a speedy impeachment, saying there was no way to end it before Trump leaves office. That raised the possibility of a bitter Senate trial during Biden’s early days in the White House, something he urged Senate leaders to avoid. Biden said that working on the economy, kicking off the coronavirus vaccination program and confirming crucial cabinet positions was too crucial to delay. “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with its constitutional responsibilities in impeachment while also working on other pressing issues of this nation,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday night. The House passed an impeachment article – equivalent to an indictment in a criminal trial – accusing Trump of “incitement to insurrection,” centered on an inflammatory speech he delivered to thousands of supporters shortly before the riot. In the speech, Trump repeated false claims that the election was fraudulent and urged his supporters to march on Capitol Hill. The mob disrupted Congressional certification of Biden’s victory over Trump in the Nov. 3 election, sent lawmakers underground and left five dead, including a police officer. TRIAL IN THE SENATE Under the Constitution, impeachment in the House triggers a trial in the Senate. It would take a two-thirds majority to convict and remove Trump, meaning that at least 17 Republicans in the 100-member House would have to join Democrats. Even if Trump is already out of the White House, a conviction in the Senate could lead to a vote banning him from running again. McConnell has said that no trial could begin until the Senate was scheduled to return to regular session on Tuesday, the day before Biden’s inauguration. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who will become Majority Leader this month, said no matter the timing, “there will be an impeachment in the United States Senate; there will be a vote to convict the president of serious crimes. and fouls; and if the president is convicted, a vote will be taken to prohibit him from running again. ” House leaders did not say when they would send the charge to the Senate for consideration. When asked if it would be a good idea to hold a trial on Biden’s first day in office, Representative Madeleine Dean, one of the members of the House who will process the trial, said: “I don’t want to preview it, but I certainly don’t. We have a president and a vice president to swear in, we have to restore the peaceful transfer of power, against which Donald Trump deliberately incited violence. ” With the National Guard on duty, the emotional impeachment debate unfolded in the same chamber of the House where lawmakers had hidden under chairs and donned gas masks on January 6 when the rioters clashed with police. outside the gates. “The President of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in the plenary session of the House before the vote. “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation we all love.” At a later ceremony, he signed the impeachment article earlier, saying he did this “sadly, heartbroken at what this means for our country.” No president of the United States has been removed from office. Three (Trump in 2019, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868) were indicted by the House but acquitted by the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 instead of facing impeachment. TRUMP ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY In a video statement released after Wednesday’s vote, Trump made no mention of impeachment and did not take any responsibility for his comments to his supporters last week, but condemned the violence. “Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence,” Trump said. Some Republicans argued that the impeachment campaign was a rush to pass judgment that bypassed the usual deliberative process, such as hearings, and called on Democrats to abandon the effort in the name of national unity and healing. “To impeach the president in such a short time would be a mistake,” said Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican. “That doesn’t mean the president is blameless. The president is responsible for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.” Republicans who voted for impeachment included Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House. “I am not choosing a side, I am choosing the truth,” said Republican Jamie Herrera Beutler in announcing his support for impeachment, drawing applause from Democrats. “It is the only way to overcome fear.” The House indicted Trump in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemming from his request that Ukraine investigate Biden and his son Hunter before the election, as Democrats accused him of soliciting foreign interference to defame a national political rival. In February 2020, the Senate voted to keep Trump in office.