WASHINGTON (CNN/AP/WJW) — The House is holding its historic impeachment debate on Wednesday over charges that President Donald Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress ahead of votes that will leave a defining mark on his tenure at the White House.
The House is expected to vote on the resolution around 8 p.m. If the House resolution is approved, as it is expected to be, it will be transmitted to the Senate.
The Senate, according to the Constitution, must hold a trial after the House impeaches Trump.
According to NPR, the Articles of Impeachment are similar to an indictment and the Senate would “try the case.” All 100 senators would act as jurors. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, would appointment House Democrats to act as prosecutors in the case and the White House would determine its defense team.
Here’s an outline of how a Senate trial works:
Before the trial begins, according to NPR, top Republican and Democratic leaders will work to negotiate a resolution establishing ground rules for the trial. This includes things such as how long each side will get to present their arguments. It will require a simple majority to pass.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sent a letter on Sunday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. seeking at least four witnesses to testify in the Senate trial, specifically asking for current and former officials that did not cooperate with the House investigation. Schumer reportedly requested acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton, OMB official Michael Duffey and Robert Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney.
Modeling after the agreement that bipartisan Senators reached during President Bill Clinton’s trial, Schumer also suggested time limits for both sides when presenting their case.
NPR says it is unclear if Schumer and McConnell will agree on how the trial should work.
Additionally, any senator can raise questions that could trigger votes on any aspects of the trial, including whether any witnesses would be called to testify. Those votes would also require a simple majority to pass.
Here’s what we know:
U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts is set to preside over the trial, which is expected to take place in January.
McConnell has argued in favor of a quick trial without witness testimony.
“If you know you have the votes, you’ve listened to the arguments on both sides, and you believe the case is so slim, so weak that you have the votes to end it, that might be what the president’s lawyers would prefer, and you can certainly make a case for making it shorter rather than longer since it’s such a weak case,” he said in an interview on Fox News last week.
However, President Trump has been pushing for witnesses who were not called to testify in the House trial to appear in the Senate trial.
Additionally, the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is likely to end with his acquittal.
A two-thirds vote (67 votes) is needed to convict and remove a president in a Senate trial, meaning 20 Republicans would need to side with Democrats which, at the moment, doesn’t seem likely. McConnell said during his FOX News interview that there is “no chance” that will happen.
“My hope is that there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment,” McConnell is quoted saying.
Lastly, there are 26 formal rules in place for the Senat trial, however, a simple majority of 51 senators can vote to change any of the rules at any time. You can read the full rules here.