Donald Trump impeachment trial in Senate to start on week of 8 February

22 January 2021, 15:45 | Updated: 22 January 2021, 23:29

Donald Trump's impeachment trial will begin on 8 February
Donald Trump's impeachment trial will begin on 8 February. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Donald Trump's impeachment trial will begin on the week starting 8 February, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has confirmed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to send the article of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday.

The move will launch the start of the former president's trial on a charge of incitement of insurrection over the deadly Capitol riot.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the schedule on Friday.

"There will be a trial," Mr Schumer said.

Mr Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had earlier proposed to push back the start of Mr Trump's trial to give the former president time to prepare and review his case.

But House Democrats, who voted to impeach Mr Trump last week for inciting the deadly Capitol riot on January 6, have argued a full reckoning is necessary before the country - and the Congress - can move on under new President Joe Biden.

Mr McConnell suggested a more expansive timeline that would see the House transmit the article of impeachment on January 28, launching the trial's first phase.

After that, the Senate would give the president's defence team and House prosecutors two weeks to file briefs, with arguments in the trial likely to begin in mid-February.

He said: "Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake."

Shortly before the insurrection on January 6, Mr Trump told thousands of his supporters at a rally near the White House to "fight like hell" against the election results that Congress was certifying.

A mob marched down to the Capitol and rushed in, interrupting the count.

Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the mayhem, and the House impeached Mr Trump a week later, with 10 Republicans joining all Democrats in support.

It comes the day after President Joe Biden signed a raft of executive orders aimed at tackling coronavirus in the US on his first full day in office.

Speaking from the White House, President Biden said there has been a "tragic cost" to Donald Trump's failure to act during the pandemic.

Mr Biden labelled the vaccine rollout so far a "dismal failure" and admitted that "things are going to continue to get worse before they get better".

The president told the nation that the death toll will likely top 500,000 next month and said that it will take months to turn things round.

"We will get through this, we will defeat this pandemic," Mr Biden said. "My administration's Covid plan is based on science not politics and truth not denial."

Mr Biden, who was inaugurated on Wednesday, then went on to sign a raft of executive orders aimed at tackling coronavirus in the US.

The new president has pledged that he will make getting the pandemic under control the pandemic one of the top priorities of his administration.

The US has been badly hit by the virus, recording the world's highest death toll, more than 400,000.