Trump was impeached earlier this month on a charge of incitement of insurrection. The Senate will consider the charge during a trial starting the week of Feb. 8.
The House of Representatives and Trump’s defense team have time to prepare legal briefs in the intervening period of time, Schumer told reporters in New York. The delayed start will also let the Senate do other things, primarily confirm President Joe Biden’s nominees and advance a fresh CCP virus relief package.
On impeachment, he added: “Look, everyone wants to put this awful chapter in American history behind us. But sweeping it under the rug will not bring healing. The only way to bring healing is to actually have real accountability, which this trial affords. And so we will move forward with the trial.”
The trial will “take up too much time because we have so much else to do,” Schumer said. “But at the same time, it will be fair.”
Schumer didn’t answer directly when asked whether any witnesses will be called. The House impeached Trump without holding its customary investigation or calling any witnesses to testify.
A two-thirds vote is required to convict Trump on the article of impeachment. Democrats and Republicans each have 50 senators at present. Fifteen Republicans have signaled a willingness to convict Trump, but even Democrats acknowledge it will be difficult to sway 17.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he will listen to both sides during a trial before deciding whether to vote for acquittal or conviction.
No president in American history has been impeached and convicted. Trump is the only president to be impeached twice.
Trump left office on Jan. 20. Many Republicans believe it’s unconstitutional to hold a trial at this point. Others say that trying to convict Trump is a poor use of time.
“It’s counterproductive,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We already have a flaming fire in this country, and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.”