House prosecutors delivered the sole “incitement of insurrection” impeachment charge (pdf) in a ceremonial walk across the Capitol to the Senate.
The move, out of formality, sets the stage for preparations ahead of the trial that alleges Trump incited an insurrection that resulted in riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
House Democrats voted to impeach Trump on Jan. 13, with every Democrat voting in favor of impeachment, and 10 House Republicans joining.
Initial proceedings start on Tuesday, but opening arguments will be pushed to February. The Senate is expected to start a trial on Feb. 9 on the article of impeachment.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that there will be “a full trial,” and “it will be a fair trial.”
A number of Republican lawmakers have objected to the impeachment, some arguing that it would be a violation of the Constitution to hold a trial now because Trump no longer serves as president.
Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, who defended Trump during his Senate impeachment trial in 2020, recently said that impeaching Trump after he has left office is “plainly unconstitutional” and that the Senate “should not proceed with this unconstitutional act.”
Schumer did not agree with that argument on Monday.
“The theory that the Senate can’t try former officials would amount to a constitutional get-out-of-jail-free card for any president,” Schumer told the Senate.
Trump had urged the public to act “peacefully and patriotically” on Jan. 6 and repeatedly condemned the violence at the U.S. Capitol after the incident, which saw riots at the U.S. Capitol grounds, as well as a breach of the Capitol building by a mob. Lawmakers were gathered in the building to count electoral votes for the president of the United States.
That day, the mob breached the building before Trump had finished giving a speech to a large crowd of supporters more than a 30-minute walk away, a timeline of the day by The Epoch Times shows.
This is the first time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached twice. It is also the first time a former president faces an impeachment trial after leaving office.
Although Trump left office on Jan. 20, Senate leaders are determined to press forward. If convicted, senators can then choose to disqualify the former president from ever holding office in the future.
No president in U.S. history has ever been convicted. A conviction would require a supermajority vote. Democrats hold 50 seats in the Senate and Republicans also hold 50.
Senate Democrats will need the support of 17 Republicans to convict Trump in the Senate. Some Republicans have said they’re open to convicting Trump, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate’s longest-serving member, said on Monday he will preside over the trial.
Butch Bowers, a South Carolina-based lawyer, will be the lead attorney on the Trump legal team.
Shortly before the impeachment charge delivery, Trump formally opened the “Office of the Former President,” which will manage “official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump Administration,” the office announced.
Reuters contributed to this report.