Congress’ upper chamber will fill today with lawmakers tasked with determining whether Trump should be convicted and removed from office over two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
On Dec. 18, Trump became the third-ever U.S. President to be impeached.
Lawmakers said Trump abused his power by withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the announcement of investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter‘s work on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, and into unsubstantiated claims that the country interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The House of Representatives said Trump impeded their investigation by refusing to hand over important documents, and by ordering officials called to testify not to comply with lawful subpoenas.
Trump, though, has denied any wrongdoing, repeatedly calling the impeachment process a “sham” and a “hoax.”
After nearly a month-long standoff, the two articles of impeachment were sent to the Senate last week, setting the stage for the historic trial.
Late Monday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a compressed calendar for opening statements, just two days for each side, as Trump’s lawyers argued for swift rejection of the “flimsy” charges against the president and acquittal.
However, Democrats have vowed to object to a speedy trial and pressed for fresh witnesses and documents.
Members of the 100-seat chamber will act as jurors swearing last week, to do “impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”
At the end of the trial, the chamber will hold a vote on whether to convict and remove Trump from office.
A two-thirds vote is needed in order to oust Trump from his position of commander-in-chief.
–With files from the Associated Press
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