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what you need to know about the US Senate trial


What happens next?

The case will continues for days, possibly weeks.

A two-third majority in the Senate would result in the former president’s conviction.

Senate trial 2021 schedule

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Speaker, sent the article of impeachment charging Mr Trump with “incitement of insurrection” on Jan 25. This means the trial would have started on Jan 27, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to an extension to allow Mr Trump to form his defence.

At 1pm (6pm GMT) on February 9, proceedings begin with a four hour debate between the impeachment managers and the president’s counsel on whether the trial is constitutional. Each side must make their case at 5pm (10pm GMT). After the arguments, the Senate will vote on whether it has the jurisdiction to try a former president. Democrats are certain to win this vote. They need a simple majority of 51 votes.

On Wednesday at noon (5pm GMT), opening arguments will begin. The prosecution and Trump’s defence team will have 16 hours over the next two days to present their case. After the presentations, Senators will have a total of four hours to question the House managers and Trump’s attorneys.

Four hours will be divided equally between the parties for arguments on whether the Senate will consider motions to witness summons and documents. There will be four hours for closing arguments, along with deliberation period, if requested by the senators, before the vote begins.

Mr Trump’s lawyer David Schoen requested for the trial to pause during the Jewish Sabbath, which starts from sundown on Friday and ends on Saturday. The request was withdrawn, meaning the trial could continue into Saturday.

How does it work and how many votes are needed?

Impeachment does not mean a president will necessarily be removed from office. It proceeds like a bill passing through legislature.

First, a majority in the House of Representatives – 218 out of 435 members – must approve articles of impeachment previously approved in committee. The article of impeachment easily passed in the House.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where a two-thirds majority vote is needed to convict the president – so the bill would need to be backed by a lot of Republicans in order to pass.

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