Former President Donald Trump and his legal team are pleased with the agreement reached between Senate Republicans and Democrats on the framework for the upcoming impeachment trial, Trump’s office said in a statement.
“We appreciate that Senate Republican leadership stood strong for due process and secured a structure that is consistent with past precedent,” the statement said.
“This process will provide us with an opportunity to explain to Senators why it is absurd and unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial against a private citizen.”
This comes after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the upper chamber had reached a bipartisan deal on how the impeachment trial will be run a day before the proceedings are scheduled to begin.
“All parties have agreed to a structure that will ensure a fair and honest Senate impeachment trial of the former president,” Schumer said on Monday.
The agreement was reached between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Democratic impeachment managers, and lawyers for Trump.
The trial will begin with a four-hour debate on whether the proceedings should be dismissed, the lawmakers said.
The constitutionality of an impeachment trial of a former president was revisited in January when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) raised a point of order on the Senate floor, forcing the chamber to take a stance on the constitutionality of the proceedings. It returned a 55-45 vote, meaning the trial will go ahead. But it also revealed that nearly half of the chamber holds the view that the proceedings are unconstitutional.
Following Tuesday’s debate, each side will have up to 16 hours to present their cases starting Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET. Then, there will be a total of four hours for senators to question both sides. Should witnesses or documents be subpoenaed, up to four hours can be allotted again between the impeachment managers and Trump’s defense, according to Schumer.
The Democrat-controlled House on Jan. 13 voted 232–197 to impeach Trump on a single article of impeachment, alleging that the president incited an “insurrection” that resulted in the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6.
The impeachment, which was completed in a single seven-hour session, has been criticized by Republicans for its speed and lack of due process. Meanwhile, the question of whether the Senate trial is constitutional has prompted a heated public debate among legal scholars and lawmakers.
Trump attorneys on Monday filed a written argument saying the trial is merely “political theater,” adding that it is unconstitutional to impeach a former president. Democrats have rejected the idea and said they want the trial to serve as a referendum against Trump while ensuring he cannot hold office again.
“Taken together, they demonstrate conclusively that indulging House Democrats hunger for this political theater is a danger to our Republic democracy and the rights that we hold dear,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.
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