WASHINGTON — The historic impeachment trial of Republican U.S. President Donald Trump is due to resume in the Senate on January 21.
The impeachment trial is expected to continue six days a week, with breaks each Sunday.
On January 20, a brief filed by Trump’s lawyers presented the most detailed view of the defense they intend to use against Democrats who are trying to convict Trump and remove him from office over his dealings with Ukraine.
Democrats in the House of Representatives charged on January 18 that Trump “used his official powers to pressure” Ukraine’s government to “interfere in a United States election for his personal political gain and then attempted to cover up his scheme by obstructing Congress’s investigation into his misconduct.”
The 110-page brief from Trump’s attorneys hinges on the president’s claim that he did nothing wrong and did not commit a crime.
Trump’s lawyers wrote that House Democrats committed “a dangerous perversion of the Constitution that the Senate should swiftly and roundly condemn.”
They also claimed that House Democrats “were determined from the outset to find some way — any way — to corrupt the extraordinary power of impeachment for use as a political tool to overturn the result of the 2016 election and to interfere in the 2020 election.
A debate and vote is expected as one of the first orders of business on January 21 on trial rules proposed by the Republican Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), that would govern the first phase of the trial.
On January 20, McConnell proposed a four-page resolution that would grant House Democrats and White House lawyers 24 hours each for opening arguments over two days. It also contains an option for the White House to propose an early motion to dismiss all charges against Trump.
The rules proposed in the resolution would leave open the option of a vote later in the landmark proceedings on whether witnesses would testify and new evidence could be introduced.
Democrats are expected to try to amend McConnell’s rules to stipulate that witnesses must be called, possibly leading to an extended debate over the rules of the impeachment trial.
Once the rules governing the trial have been adopted, Democrats from the House of Representatives who form the prosecution team would begin to present their case against Trump.
In order to convict Trump, a two-thirds majority in the 100-seat Senate must vote to remove him from office and disqualify him from holding any other federal office in the future.
Such a result is seen as unlikely, as Trump‘s fellow Republicans control a majority in the Senate and most Republican senators are expected to vote along party lines.
Trump was due to leave Washington late on January 20 on a flight to Switzerland where he was due to spend two days at the yearly World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Trump plans to return to Washington on January 22.