Trump impeachment moves to Senate ahead of historic trial

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House Clerk Cheryl Johnson delivers a message to the Senate from the House of Representatives on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. SENATE TV

After months of hearings and votes in the House, the impeachment case against President Trump’s fate is now in the hands of the Senate, where a trial to decide on the removal of a president set to get underway for just the third time in U.S. history.

The House formally handed off impeachment proceedings on Wednesday, voting to appoint the impeachment managers who will prosecute the House’s case for Mr. Trump’s removal from office. The managers marched across the Capitol to deliver the charges to the world’s most deliberative body in an archaic ceremony steeped in tradition.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has overseen the impeachment proceedings for the past four months, but power now shifts to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues in the Senate, who control a slim majority and can dictate terms of the proceedings if they remain united.

The House impeachment managers will return to the Senate at noon to exhibit the two articles of impeachment — one charge of abuse of power, and a second for obstruction of Congress. John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court who is responsible for presiding over the trial under the Constitution, will be sworn in Thursday afternoon.

McConnell: Senate to hear from managers before swearing in chief justice

The House managers formally delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate following the engrossment ceremony and procession across the Capitol.

Senator Chuck Grassley, the president pro tempore, was presiding over the Senate when the House clerk was granted entry.

“The Senate will receive a message from the House of Representatives,” Grassley said.

“Mr. President, I have been directed by the House of Representatives to inform the Senate the House has passed H. Res. 798, a resolution appointing and authorizing managers of the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, president of the United States,” House clerk Cheryl Johnson replied from the back of the chamber.

“The message will be received,” Grassley said, before recognizing McConnell.

The Republican leader announced that the impeachment managers will return at noon on Thursday to formally present the articles. At 2 p.m., Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will arrive at the Senate and be sworn in by Grassley. Roberts will then swear in senators, who will sit and hear arguments for and against Mr. Trump before rendering a verdict.

“This is a difficult time for our country. But this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate,” McConnell said. “I’m confident this body can rise above short termism and factional fever, and serve the long term best interest of our nation. We can do this, and we must.”

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