The U.S. House is set to vote Wednesday to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, and pressure was mounting Tuesday on senators to call fresh witnesses for the historic trial.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the next steps after meeting privately with House Democrats at the Capitol, ending her blockade Tuesday a month after they voted to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The action will launch the Senate proceeding, only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history, coming amid the backdrop of a politically divided nation and an election year. The Senate is expected to transform into an impeachment court as early as Thursday. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside over senators, who serve as jurors, to swear an oath to deliver "impartial justice.'' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the chief justice would open the trial this week, but the significant proceedings would launch next Tuesday after the holiday break. He said all 53 GOP senators are on board with his plan to start the session and consider the issue of witnesses later. Democrats have been pushing Republicans, who have a slim Senate majority, to consider new testimony, arguing that fresh information has emerged during Pelosi's month long delay in transmitting the charges.
With files from the Associated Press
John Malcolm, vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government and director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.