Here’s what happens on the first full day of ceremonies leading up to the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
10:45 AM: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold her weekly press briefing a day after signing the two impeachment articles against Donald Trump.
11:30 AM: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy holds weekly press briefing
12:00 PM: Democratic House managers for the Senate trial, announced by Pelosi Wednesday, will present the articles of impeachment to senators. The articles will be read aloud on the Senate floor.
12:30 PM: The Democratic Caucus will hold a luncheon
2:00 PM: Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will be sworn by Senator Chuck Grassley on the Senate floor. Roberts will then swear in all 100 senators who will act as jurors in the impeachment trial.
After that: The Senate is expected to spend part of the afternoon discussing details of the scheduling and set-up of the Senate Floor for when the trial commences on Tuesday.
Lindsey Graham said Wednesday night he wanted ‘this crap’ impeachment to end as soon as possible.
‘The best thing for the American people is to end this crap as quickly as possible, to have a trial in the Senate, bipartisan acquittal of the president,’ Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview Wednesday.
His comments came after the articles of impeachment were officially transmitted from the House to the Senate.
‘And on February 4, when the president comes into the House chamber to deliver the State of the Union, he will have been acquitted by the Senate,’ Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina, continued.
As the Senate kicks off its impeachment trial next Tuesday, Trump will be in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.
Graham has been a staunch defender of Trump in the impeachment proceedings from the start, claiming he has already ‘clearly made up my mind’ that the president should be acquitted and insists he won’t ‘pretend to be a fair juror’ in the trial.
The articles of impeachment against Donald Trump will be read to the Senate at noon Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed them and sent them to senators.
‘I have officially invited the House managers to come to the Senate tomorrow at noon to exhibit their articles of impeachment,’ McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday evening.
‘Then later tomorrow at 2 pm the chief justice of the United States will arrive here in the Senate.’
He outlined the procedure the chamber will follow to officially start the president’s impeachment trial, which will begin with Chief Justice John Roberts being sworn in to preside over the trial.
‘Then the chief justice will swear in all of us senators,’ McConnell detailed.
‘We’ll pledge to rise above the petty factionalism and do justice for our institution, for our states and for our nation,’ McConnell continued.
‘And then we will formally notify the White House of our pending trial and summon the president to answer the articles and send his counsel.
‘So the trial will commence, in earnest, on Tuesday.’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell detailed Wednesday that the Senate would read the articles of impeachment and swear in Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts on Thursday
The announcement came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump
‘Today, we will make history,’ Pelosi declared in remarks before signing the document
Pelosi was joined at the podium by the seven managers she appointed to prosecute the impeachment trial in the Senate. Other House chairmen and women also were present for the historic signing
The seven managers then marched the articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – to the Senate side of the Capitol where the upper chamber can now begin its impeachment trial against Donald Trump
Trump (pictured at the White House on Wednesday) is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate
Pelosi handed out souvenir pens with her signature on it after signing the articles to Democrats gathered for the ceremony
Pelosi (right) was seated with rival Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) at the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on the Capitol an hour before the Engrossment Ceremony
Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson carries the impeachment articles to the Senate, escorted by House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, and the seven Democratic impeachment managers
The clerk, sergeant and arms and seven impeachment managers walk through Statuary Hall, which used to serve as the House chamber, in the Capitol
They carried the articles through the rotunda, which contains paintings of famous scenes in American history
House Clerk Cheryl Johnson, House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and the impeachment managers leave the Senate after depositing the impeachment articles
WHAT TO WATCH IN TRUMP’S SENATE TRIAL
HOUSE MEMBERS IN THE SENATE
At noon Thursday, the seven House managers will again cross the Capitol and be escorted into the well of the Senate, this time to formally present the articles of impeachment.
The prosecution team is led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New Yrok, who oversaw the impeachment investigation and hearings. The others are Reps. Zoe Lofgren of California, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Val Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado and Sylvia Garcia of Texas.
All have backgrounds in the law. Their challenge is to persuade four Republicans to join all Senate Democrats in demanding that the trial include new documents and witnesses most in the GOP senators would like to avoid. Even that modest goal could prove difficult.
Watch for the managers to start dividing up topics and arguments as the team prepares to lay out its case.
In another extraordinary visual, Chief Justice John Roberts will make an appearance in the chamber. Senate Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley of Iowa will administer Roberts’ oath as the court’s presiding officer. Roberts, in turn, will swear in the senators, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
The senators will swear to administer ‘impartial justice’ on the articles, or charges. But already, the senator-jurors are questioning whether that’s possible.
McConnell has given his flat-out answer, declaring last month: ‘I’m not an impartial juror.’
He also said he’s coordinating tightly with the White House, a statement Democrats said was proof of McConnell’s partiality. Republicans, meanwhile, have pointed out that Democrats have widely spoken of their disdain for Trump and cast doubt on his fitness for office.
Late Wednesday, McConnell laid out how he sees the challenge for senators. ‘We will pledge to rise above the petty factionalism and do justice for our institutions, for our states and for the nation,’ he said.
THE SENATE MATH
100: The total number of senators.
53: The Republican majority.
51: The number of senators who must agree on almost anything to make it happen during an impeachment trial.
Four: The number of Republican senators who must join Democrats to get to the magical 51.
2/3: The proportion of senators required to convict and remove a president from office. So 67 members of the Senate would have to vote to convict if every senator is voting.
Watch the moderates for an emerging gang of three to four who could influence the outcome on such matters as whether to subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton. That vote won’t be taken for days if not weeks.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has been meeting with a small number of GOP colleagues who want to consider witness testimony and documents that weren’t part of the House impeachment investigation. Watch Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska for signs of whether this group can stick together and force the Senate to consider additional material.
Senators love to talk. So the impeachment trial rule against speaking or consulting their phones on the Senate floor has the potential to chafe.
None moreso, however, than the four Democratic senators forced to decamp from Iowa less than three weeks before the election’s leadoff caucuses. Look for Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Michael Bennet of Colorado to send surrogates to Iowa or make short trips back and forth.
‘I’ve told them this trial is your responsibility as senators and scheduling is not going to influence what we should do,’ Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told The Associated Press in an interview last month. He said none of them objected. ‘There are benefits of running as a senator,’ Schumer added, ‘and there are liabilities.’
The Senate is pausing for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Arguments begin Tuesday.
Reporting by The Associated Press
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, made his remarks just as Speaker Pelosi signed the articles against Trump Wednesday evening, finalizing the transmission of the articles from the House to the Senate.
‘Today, we will make history,’ Pelosi declared before the signing.
‘When the managers walk down the hall, we will cross a threshold in history.
‘Delivering articles of impeachment against the president of the United States for abuse of power and obstruction of the House.’
The Engrossment Ceremony finally released the articles from the House, where Pelosi held them hostage for a month, claiming ‘time has been our friend in all of this,’ earlier Wednesday morning.
Pelosi claimed she wanted to make the case to the American people that there was a need for witnesses in the Senate trial and attempted to display that Republicans would not conduct a fair hearing.
Immediately following the ceremony Democrats participated in a procession through the Capital with the articles to hand-deliver them to the Senate side of Congress.
Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson carried the impeachment articles in two blue folders, escorted by House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, and the eight Democratic impeachment managers, through Statuary Hall, into the ornate rotunda with its paintings depicting scenes from American history, under the Dome, and to the Senate side of the Capitol.
The procession was solemn and no one spoke as Johnson carefully held the articles during the march.
Following a Tuesday morning meeting with her caucus, Pelosi announced the articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – would be transferred to the Senate where the trial could then begin.
Trump is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-led chamber.
Wednesday morning Pelosi also announced the seven Democrats who will act as managers in the impeachment hearing, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said will commence Tuesday.
The House passed the resolution Wednesday afternoon 228 to 193 that kicked off the process of sending the articles to the Senate.
They also approved Pelosi’s selected Democrat prosecutors: Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Val Demings, Sylvia Garcia and Jason Crow.
Only one Democrat defected from the party, with Rep. Collin Peterson from Minnesota voting with Republicans.
Peterson has been against President Trump’s impeachment from day one and voted against the two articles.
Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-independent- voted alongside the Democrats.
At 5 pm, Pelosi held the Engrossment Ceremony with the newly announced impeachment managers.
But the speaker came under fire from Republicans for handing out the pens she used to sign them to the Democratic lawmakers who led the investigation of Trump and who will act as the president’s prosecutors.
‘Nancy Pelosi’s souvenir pens served up on silver platters to sign the sham articles of impeachment…She was so somber as she gave them away to people like prizes,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote on Twitter.
The ornate pens bore Pelosi’s signature.
It’s traditional for an official to hand out pens from a signing after fixing one’s signature to historic legislation.
Republican Speaker Paul Ryan did it. And presidents also hand out pens they use for signing ceremonies.
Leading up to the vote, House Democrats encouraged the Senate to hold President Trump accountable.
‘The Senate is on trial,’ said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who was picked by Pelosi to serve as one of the seven impeachment managers. ‘We will see whether they conduct a fair trial and allow the witnesses or conduct a cover-up. Today’s resolution is the next step in this serious and solemn constitutional process.’
Pelosi also uttered the c-word – ‘cover-up’ – should McConnell pursue a dismissal vote once the articles are in the Senate’s hands. ‘Dismissal is cover-up,’ Pelosi stated on the House floor, minutes before the House voted on the resolution appointing the managers.
Pelosi announced the managers at a Wednesday morning press conference on Capitol Hill.
Pelosi made official that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff would lead the effort, along with Nadler.
In the House, Schiff and Nadler’s committees handled impeachment, which Pelosi called Wednesday ‘an impeachment that would last forever.’
The speaker also named the No. 5 Democrat in the House, Rep. Jeffries, as a manager. Jeffries is a member of the Judiciary Committee. As are Reps. Lofgren, Demings and Sylvia Garcia, named Wednesday by the speaker. She also picked Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and Rep. Val Demings, who served as the first female police chief in Orlando.
There was a push by some to have her also select Amash, who left the GOP to become an independent and supported Trump’s impeachment.
She did not, choosing only Democrats to serve in the role.
McConnell says the Republican-led upper chamber will begin opening arguments in the impeachment hearing Tuesday next week. Members of Congress will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.
The House voted, almost entirely along party lines, last month to impeach Donald Trump.
Pelosi then held the impeachment articles in the House, breaking with precedent in sending them immediately to the Senate following the vote.
The California Democrat said she wanted to prove to the American people in that time that there was a need for witnesses in the Senate trial.
She repeated that stance Wednesday morning during the brief press conference.
‘On December 18, the House of Representatives impeached the President of the United States. An impeachment that will last forever,’ Pelosi began. ‘Since December 18 there have been comments about when are we going to send the articles over.’
The solemn procession of the articles was marked by silence
The pens Pelosi used to sign the articles have been criticized by Republicans as the speaker handed them out to Democratic lawmakers afterward
Speaker Pelosi and House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney pose for a photo with one of the pens
Pelosi hands out pens after she signed the articles to lawmakers
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler examines the pen Pelosi gave him
Pelosi gives a pen to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, one of the impeachment managers
Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving arrive at the Senate with the articles of impeachment
The articles were carried over in two blue folders
The impeachment articles were delivered to the Senate chamber Wednesday evening
McConnell also announced that Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts would be sworn in at 2 p.m. Thursday as he prepares to preside over the impeachment hearing in the Senate. Robert will then swear in the senators
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, one of Democrats seven impeachment managers, said Wednesday on the House floor that the ‘Senate is on trial’ too – and needed to hold President Trump accountable
Pelosi said if Republicans swiftly dismissed the two articles of impeachment against President Trump in the Senate, it would amount to a ‘cover-up’
READ THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP
In 1,414 words, the articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday lay out two charges against President Donald Trump.
Article I: Abuse of Power
Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.
Accused: Donald Trump has two articles of impeachment against him
He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.
President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations.
President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.’
Article II: Obstruction of Congress
As part of this impeachment inquiry, the Committees undertaking the investigation served subpoenas seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry from various Executive Branch agencies and offices, and current and former officials.
In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.
In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
This abuse of office served to cover up the President’s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.
She said she had hoped the Senate would extend the ‘courtesy’ to tell the House ‘what the process would be.’
‘Short of that, that time has revealed many things since then,’ Pelosi continued. ‘Time has been our friend in all of this because as we’ve yielded incriminating evidence, more truth into the public domain.’
President Trump and the White House disputed this.
‘Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!’ Trump tweeted, moments after Pelosi announced the roster of managers.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham also slapped Pelosi in a statement.
‘The Speaker lied when she claimed this was urgent and vital to national security because when the articles passed, she held them for an entire month in an egregious effort to garner political support,’ Grisham said Wednesday morning.
McConnell says there will be a vote after opening arguments to decide if the Senate should call witnesses to testify in the hearing that will decide if the president will be removed from office.
The weeks-long trial in the Senate is expected to ultimately end in the president’s acquittal. But it will focus attention on Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, as the 2020 presidential campaign begins in earnest.
Biden is one of 12 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, and the trial might still be under way when Iowa and New Hampshire hold their first nominating contests in early February.
None of the Senate’s 53 Republicans have voiced support for ousting Trump, a step that would require a two-thirds majority in the 100-member chamber.
Though the ultimate outcome is not in doubt, the trial could deliver some moments of drama.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (center) names the following impeachment managers: (from left) Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia Garcia, Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff, Val Demings, Zoe Lofgren and Jason Crow
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives on Capitol Hill Wednesday, in advance of announcing the House impeachment managers
Both Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (left) and Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (right) were named as impeachment managers Wednesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Sschiff, she said, would lead the team
President Trump objected to the Democrats’ plea that the Senate include new evidence in the impeachment trial, sending out this tweet minutes after Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment managers
Democrats are pressing to call Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton as a witness, which could prove damaging to Trump. Other witnesses in the impeachment inquiry said Bolton was a vocal critic of the effort to pressure Ukraine.
McConnell, however, has resisted the idea of calling witnesses at all. He claims his chamber should only consider evidence that has already been dug up by the House.
But other Republicans and Trump himself have said they would like to call witnesses of their own – including Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma from 2014-2019.
Asked Wednesday about GOP plans to call Hunter Biden to testify, Pelosi backed away from the podium, letting Nadler address the question instead.
‘We are prepared. But the relevant question is relevance – is relevance,’ Nadler said. ‘In any trial, you call witnesses who have information about the allegations, about the charges.’
The New York Democrat reminded reporters that the charges involved whether Trump held up $391 million in military aid to Ukraine ‘in order to get Ukraine to announce an investigation of a domestic political opponent,’ Nadler said.
‘Any witness who has information about whether that is true or not true is a relevant witness. Anybody – like Hunter Biden – who has no information about any of that, is not a relevant witness,’ Nadler explained.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. His chamber will take over President Trump’s impeachment later in the day
The night before the House vote, some indication of just how explosive the next few weeks could be came with the House Intelligence Committee releasing a new trove of information from Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born sidekick of Rudy Giuliani who is now indicted on felony charges.
In more than 30 pages of messages and image retrieved from one of Parnas’ devices, it revealed how Giuliani had written to Ukraine’s newly-elected president, Voldomyr Zelensky, saying that with the president’s ‘consent and knowledge’ he was requesting a meeting.
It also showed Parnas writing down the apparent details of a ‘deal’ to secure an investigation of ‘Biden’; Parnas pressing Giuliani to get a visa for an allegedly corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor and the attorney saying he had ‘No. 1 on it’; and Parnas and a fanatically pro-Trump Republican congressional candidate exchanging messages calling Marie Yovanovitch, then the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine a ‘b***h’ and suggesting her movements were being monitored.
In one message the would-be Congressman, Robert Hyde, told Parnas he had men watching her and said: ‘They are willing to help if we/you would like a price.’
Hyde, who has posed repeatedly with the president and given more than $50,000 to pro-Trump campaign groups at the same time as owning child support, said on twitter: ‘How low can liddle Adam Bull Schiff go? I was never in Kiev. For them to take some texts my buddy’s and I wrote back to some dweeb we were playing with that we met a few times while we had a few drinks is definitely laughable. Schiff is a desperate turd playing with this Lev guy.’
The Parnas files may be the tip of an iceberg; the House Intelligence Committee has three of his devices.
THE IMPEACHMENT MANAGERS: MEET THE SEVEN DEMOCRATS PROSECUTING DONALD TRUMP
Adam Schiff of California: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, 59, led the impeachment process against Donald Trump. He became a frequent target of Trump’s fury: the president called him ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff and made fun of his neck. But Schiff won praise for his leadership during witnesses hearings. Schiff served in the California State Assembly and was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for six years. He oversaw the prosecution of Richard Miller, the first FBI agent ever to be indicted for espionage. Elected to Congress in 2012.
Jerry Nadler of New York: The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, 72, led the series of hearings that developed the two articles of impeachment against the president: abuse of power and obstruction of justice. He’s in his 15th term in Congress and was a New York State Assembly man before joining Capitol Hill. He was in law school when he was first elected to state office and completed his J.D. while serving in Albany. He and Schiff were expected to be named. Elected to Congress in 1992.
Zoe Lofgren of California: A close Nancy Pelosi ally and a long time friend of the speaker, Lofgren, 72, has the unique experience of playing a role in three presidential impeachment proceedings: as a Judiciary Committee staffer during Richard Nixon’s in 1974, as a Judiciary Committee Member during Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment, and now in President Trump’s. Additionally, she heads the Committee on House Administration, a position that has the moniker ‘Mayor of Capitol Hill’ given the panel’s jurisdiction over the everyday running of the Capitol, including members’ allowance, office space, and rules of the House. Elected to Congress in 1994.
Hakeem Jeffries of New York: Jeffries, 49, was a litigator in private practice before running for elected office. He worked in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before becoming assistant litigator for Viacom and CBS, where he worked on litigation stemming from the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, when Janet Jackson’s breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed by Justin Timberlake for about half a second, in what was later referred to as a ‘wardrobe malfunction’. The Federal Election Commission fined CBS $550,000 after a long legal case. The Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Jeffries serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Before Congress, he was in the New York State Assembly for six years. Elected to Congress in 2012 and a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Val Demings of Florida: Demings, 62, served in the Orlando Police Department for 27 years, including serving as the city’s first female chief of police. She is one of seven children born in poverty – her father worked in Florida orange groves and her mother was a housekeeper. She was the first member of her family graduate from college. She worked as a social worker before joining the Orlando police department. A member of the House Intelligence panel and the Judiciary Committee, Demings won plaudits for her careful questioning of witnesses during the impeachment hearings. She wrote on Twitter in December, during the impeachment process: ‘I am a descendant of slaves, who knew that they would not make it, but dreamed and prayed that one day I would make it. So despite America’s complicated history, my faith is in the Constitution. I’ve enforced the laws, and now I write the laws. Nobody is above the law.’ She spends her free time riding her Harley-Davidson Road King Classic motorcycle. Elected to Congress in 2016.
Jason Crow of Colorado: Crow, 40, was an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served three tours and was awarded a Bronze Star. He was a private litigator with the Holland and Hart Law Firm before running for Congress. He was elected to Congress in 2018 and serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
Sylvia Garcia of Texas: Garcia, 69, has a strong judicial background. She was the director and presiding judge of the Houston Municipal System and was elected city controller. She was also the first Hispanic and first woman to be elected in her own right to the Harris County Commissioner’s Court. Elected to Congress in 2018, she serves on the House Judiciary Committee.