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Articles of impeachment to be formally presented in the Senate

Sen. Richard Blumenthal joins Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and other lawmakers at press conference on Senate impeachment trial, reiterating the need f...
Senate Begins Pre-Trial Impeachment Proceedings

Sen. Richard Blumenthal joins Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and other lawmakers at press conference on Senate impeachment trial, reiterating the need for a fair and honest trial with relevant documents and witnesses.

Author: TEGNA, LAURIE KELLMAN Associated Press

Now that the U.S. Senate has been delivered the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, that body will begin the process Thursday of preparing for his trial.

The House impeached Trump for abuse of power, alleging he used military aid as leverage to force Ukraine’s president to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s potential rival in the 2020 election. Trump was also charged with obstructing Congress’ investigation by blocking documents and witnesses.

Thursday will mostly be one of housekeeping and ceremony. According to the Associated Press, the seven impeachment managers who will present the prosecution — all House Democrats — will go to the Senate at noon EST to formally present the articles. The managers delivered the articles Wednesday in a traditional, ceremonial procession.

Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, will be sworn in by Senate Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Roberts, in turn, will swear in all 100 senators who will act as jurors.

The oath the senators must take includes a vow to do “impartial justice.” This notion came under scrutiny and doubt last month when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he had no intention of being impartial.

“I’m not an impartial juror,” he said, claiming the process is inherently political.

McConnell also said he is coordinating with White House counsel — the lawyers who will defend Trump — on how to proceed.

Arguments are expected to begin Tuesday. The trial will go six days a week with Sundays off, according to Senate rules. But the Senate can vote to change the rules.

Two-thirds of the senators are needed to find Trump guilty to convict him and remove him from office, but it’s expected he won’t get close to the 67 votes needed to convict. McConnell also stated as much last month.

But for most things related to the trial, only 51 votes are needed. That includes the calling of witnesses or potentially dismissing the trial altogether.

There are four Republican senators and four Democratic senators in particular to keep an eye on.

On the GOP side, they are Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. If all Democrats and independents vote in favor of witnesses, they need four Republicans to come over. These are the most likely ones.

On the Democratic side, the ones to watch are presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Michael Bennet of Colorado. They are required to be at the trial, which means they will be taken off the campaign trail two weeks before the first primary votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses. Sanders and Warren are among the four front runners in the most recent Iowa polls. Klobuchar is trailing them and Bennet is barely registering in any state or national polls.