Impeachment Trial of Trump Formally Starts as Senators Are Sworn In
The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began in the Senate on Jan. 16 with a reading of the House-passed articles of impeachment and a swearing-in of 100 senators in front of Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.
After 2 p.m. Eastern time, Roberts placed his hand on the Bible and was sworn in by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa), the Senates president pro tempore. He then called on all 100 senators to stand to be sworn in.
The senators took an oath before the trial. Roberts asked them, “Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of President Donald John Trump, president of United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?”
“We do,” the senators replied.
Senators were then called to the Senate clerks desk to sign their names in an oath book.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) elaborated on the next steps the upper chamber will take. He gave the House until Jan. 18, and the White House until Jan. 20 to provide trial briefs outlining their arguments. The House will have a rebuttal on the following day, and the Senate trial will resume on Jan. 21.
The House voted to transmit the two articles of impeachment on Jan. 15, and seven House managers named by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) carried the articles to the upper chamber later that day.
Pelosi named two House chairmen who led the impeachment inquiry as prosecutors for the Senate trial: Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who led the probe, and Judiciary Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose committee approved the impeachment articles. Other managers in the trial will include Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), Val Demings (D-Fla.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Jason Crow (D-Colo.).
During the swearing-in, Schiff read out the two articles of impeachment on the Senate floor, saying a president can be “removed from office” for committing treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump “solicited the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations” to bolster his chances at reelection, Schiff alleged, saying that Trump also withheld aid to Kyiv as a condition.
This moment will mark only the third time in U.S. history that a president will face the prospect of being convicted and removed from office by the Senate. But in this case, it is highly unlikely, as removal requires a 67-vote supermajority, meaning that about 20 Republicans would have to break with their party and join the Democratic minority.