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Trump’s impeachment trial begins February 8

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The impeachment trial of former President of the United States, Donald Trump, will begin on February 8, making it the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who announced the schedule on Friday evening after reaching an agreement with Republicans in the Senate, said the delay in commencing the trial was to give Trump a chance to organize his legal team and prepare a defense on the sole charge of “incitement of insurrection” emanating from the Capitol Building riots on January 6.

According to Schumer, the February 8 start date would also allow the Senate more time to confirm President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominations and consider his proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package which are top priorities of the new White House agenda that could become stalled during trial proceedings.

While addressing lawmakers, Schumer said:

“We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us. But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide.”

Read also: US lawmakers approve Trump’s impeachment, as president’s supporter commits suicide

Schumer added that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will send the article of impeachment late Monday, with Senators sworn in as jurors on Tuesday.

Pelosi also said the nine House impeachment managers, or prosecutors, are “ready to begin to make their case” against Trump while Trump’s team will have had the same amount of time since the House impeachment vote to prepare.

Democrats say they have to hold Trump to account even as they pursue Biden’s legislative priorities, “because of the gravity of what took place, a violent attack on the U.S. Congress aimed at overturning an election.”

If Trump is convicted, the Senate could vote to bar him from holding office ever again, potentially ending his chances for a political comeback.

The urgency for Democrats to hold Trump responsible was complicated by the need to put Biden’s government in place and start quick work on his coronavirus aid package.

Republicans were eager to delay the trial, putting distance between the shocking events of the siege and the votes that will test their loyalty to the former president who still commands voters’ attention.

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