When will the Senate hold trial? What will it look like? Your guide to Trump’s impeachment.
The landmark votes on impeachment came after a more than two-month inquiry by House Democrats, who accused the president of pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into the president’s political rival and former vice president, Joe Biden, who is also a frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential race. They also charge that the president obstructed their investigation by refusing to comply with subpoenas and directing members of his administration to do the same.
The votes made Trump only the third president in United States history to be impeached and set the stage for a likely trial in the Republican-led Senate in January. No president has ever been removed from office via the impeachment process set out in the Constitution, and Republican senators have given little indication of changing that.
As the impeachment aftermath unfolds, here are all the latest updates as of Friday, December 20:
Trump on Friday afternoon continued to rail against Christian Today, an evangelical magazine that in an editorial called for his removal.
“I guess the magazine, “Christianity Today,” is looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or those of the socialist/communist bent, to guard their religion. How about Sleepy Joe? The fact is, no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!” he tweeted, without providing evidence.
I guess the magazine, “Christianity Today,” is looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or those of the socialist/communist bent, to guard their religion. How about Sleepy Joe? The fact is, no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2019
Trump has been invited to deliver the State of the Union to a joint session of Congress on February 4, one day after the first caucuses of the 2020 presidential primary season.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to the president on Friday formally inviting him to deliver the address at the US Capitol.
“In the spirit of respecting our Constitution, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress,” Pelosi wrote.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Trump has accepted the date proposed by the speaker.
Pelosi extended the invitation to Trump to make the annual address just two days after the House adopted two articles of impeachment against Trump.
A date for the Senate impeachment trial has not yet been set.
While defending Trump, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said the president should want a “real” impeachment trial
“It’s important for the history … it’s important for the people that voted for President Trump, they believe in him,” Bannon told Fox News.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” he said, adding that Trump will be “exonerated by the Senate in front of the American people and the world”.
Senate leaders are currently at an impasse over what a trial will look like.
Speaking to the Associated Press, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said no matter what the Senate does, Trump “will be impeached forever”.
“He’s impeached forever because he violated our Constitution,” she said.
“If I did nothing else, he saw the power of the gavel there,” Pelosi added. “And it wasn’t me, it was all of our members making their own decision.”
Reacting to an editorial in a leading evangelical magazine article, Trump said he has “done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close.”
Christianity Today, founded by the late Billy Graham, published an editorial on Thursday calling for TRump’s removal from office.
Trump pushed back on Twitter: “A far left magazine, or very ‘progressive’, as some would call it, which has been doing poorly and hasn’t been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years, Christianity Today, knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President. No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close. You’ll not get anything from those Dems on stage. I won’t be reading ET again!”
….have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President. No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close. You’ll not get anything from those Dems on stage. I won’t be reading ET again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2019
The leading evangelical magazine in the US called for Trump to get the boot from office, in an editorial published Thursday.
Citing precedent that Christianity Today set when it supported the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton two decades ago, editor Mark Galli wrote that Trump had lost the moral authority to lead the country.
“We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath,” Galli wrote in the editorial, offering the judgement on the heels of the House’s vote Wednesday night to impeach the chief executive.
White evangelicals were the bedrock of Trump’s victory in 2016, turning out in force for the Republican. Trump garnered about 80 per cent of the white evangelical vote, according to exit polls.
“To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve,” the editorial urged. “Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency.”
Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who is also vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, defended voting “present” on Wednesday’s impeachment articles.
“So my stance [on Wednesday], my vote, was opting out of this zero-sum game mindset and back into one of negotiation and compromise,” she said. “We’re stuck right now on this terrible scenario where everyone is trying to exact maximum hurt from their opponent for a quote, unquote win. My present vote was not passive; it was an active protest against the terrible fallout of this zero-sum mindset that the two opposing political parties have trapped America in. There’s no winning here. Everyone is losing.”
US senators who control the fate of Trump left Washington, DC, for a holiday break on Friday with no agreement over how they will handle the Senate trial to consider his impeachment charges in January.
The drive by the Democratic-led House of Representatives to impeach Trump was the top news story of 2019, according to The Associated Press’ annual poll.
Trump also figured in the second and third biggest stories of the year: the fallout over his immigration policies and the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether his election campaign coordinated with Russia.
But it was impeachment that was by far the top choice in the AP poll.
In the aftermath of Wednesday’s impeachment, all seven Democrat presidential candidates at the last 2019 presidential debate said the president must be defeated at the 2020 ballot box.
“We need to restore the integrity of the presidency,” said frontrunner Biden, who accused Trump of “dumbing down” the office “beyond what I even thought he would do”.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who is second in the standings, blasted Trump as “running the most corrupt administration in the modern history of this country”.
Fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren added that the president ignores the poor, to do “everything he can for the wealthy and the well-connected”.
US Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to consider over the upcoming holiday recess allowing witnesses to testify at Trump’s impeachment trial, Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman said.
Following a private meeting of the Democratic and Republican leaders, Goodman said Schumer “made clear to Senator McConnell that the witnesses and documents are necessary to ensure a fair trial in the Senate.”
Seven Democratic candidates are set to face off Thursday night in the last debate of the year.
The debate comes just a day after Trump was impeached, and the topic is expected to be front and centre.
Most Democratic contenders have previously said they supported impeachment, labelling Trump “the most corrupt president in history”.
The House impeachment votes set up a likely January trial in the Republican-led Senate, where the three senators on Thursday’s debate stage will act as jurors.
“For these senators who are running, it’s significant because they’re going to become players of the story now, they’re no longer watching it,” said Joel Rubin, a former deputy assistant secretary of state who served under former President Barack Obama.
“I’m sure we will have some commentary, [not just] about Donald Trump and why he was impeached, but also about [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and about process and about the Constitution and about what they’re going to do because they’re all going to make statements at a certain point from the Senate floor,” he added.
Expected party-switcher Representative Jeff Van Drew was scheduled to meet Trump at the White House on Thursday, one day after the New Jersey congressman broke with Democrats to vote against the president’s impeachment.
A White House official confirmed that Trump would meet with Van Drew, who told his staff over the weekend that he would become a Republican. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal discussions.
The Senate voted to advance a $1.4-trillion government spending package in a last, bipartisan burst of legislating before bolting for the holidays from a Capitol that is toxic with impeachment.
The 71-21 procedural vote is a likely prelude to an easy final set of votes later Thursday.
US Senate leaders Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, and Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat, were scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the process for a Senate trial in the impeachment of President Donald Trump, MSNBC reported.
Both had previously said they planned to meet one another soon to discuss next steps.
The day after the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump played out much like the day before: with partisan jabs, name-calling and fighting over next steps.
The votes set up a likely trial in the Senate, but when a trial would take place and what it would look like remains a major point of contention between the parties.
Read more here.
Speaking to reporters on the day after Trump’s impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected criticism from Republicans, who have accused Democrats of being afraid to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
“Frankly, I don’t care what the Republicans say,” Pelosi said.
She said she was waiting to see “the process that is set forth in the Senate” before naming House managers who would act as prosecutors in the trial.
She refused to say when she plans to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The top Democrat in the Senate said he has proposed a “very reasonable structure” for a trial in the Senate.
Chuck Schumer has previously requested trial that would include four additional witnesses, but Senate Majority Mitch McConnell has appeared to reject that plan.
“Leader McConnell claimed that the impeachment of President Trump is illegitimate because the House voted along party lines,” Schumer said. “Forgive me, but House Democrats cannot be held responsible for the cravenness of the House Republican caucus and their blind fealty to the president.”
Schumer said he would meet “very soon” with McConnell to try to come to an agreement on the next steps.
Social media in the US was abuzz with reaction to the 45th US president’s impeachment.
I see President* Trump is in full panic tweetstorm mode this morning, huh? Oh yeah he TOTALLY doesn’t care about being impeached.
What a national embarrassment.#Impeached45
— Josh (@AcceleratorVM) December 19, 2019
— AllBlackLivesMatter🖤 (@CharXRenee) December 19, 2019
Nothing like waking up to see Impeachmus trending
— Mara McEwin (@maramcewin) December 19, 2019
The top Senate Republican is set to denounce the “unfair” House impeachment of Trump and reassure Trump and his supporters that “moments like this are why the United States Senate exists”.
Senator Mitch McConnell, in remarks prepared for a Thursday floor speech, accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of being afraid to send “their shoddy work product to the Senate” after she threw uncertainty into the impeachment process by refusing to say when she would send two impeachment articles to the Senate for a trial.
In excerpts of the remarks, McConnell described Trump’s impeachment as “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history”.
Trump spent some of Thursday morning retweeting his supporters and railing against Democrats.
“I got Impeached last night without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” he tweeted. “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!”
I got Impeached last night without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history. Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2019
Although Trump is not expected to be acquitted in the Senate, questions remain about when a trial would take place.
Will Pelosi withhold the articles of impeachment? Will Senate Republicans agree with the Democrats requests for additional witnesses.
Get up to speed on what is expected next here.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed a marathon annual end-of-year news conference on Thursday in Moscow.
Among the issues he discussed was Trump’s impeachment.
“The party that lost the  election is continuing the fight by other means,” he said.
“[The impeachment bill] still needs to go through the Senate where Republicans, as far as I know, have a majority. It’s unlikely they will want to remove from power a representative of their party based on what are, in my opinion, completely fabricated reasons,” he added.
“The Democrats accused Trump of a plot with Russia, and then it emerged that there was no kind of plot. It could not be the basis of impeachment … “Then they thought up some kind of pressure on Ukraine.”
Read more here.
Missed impeachment day? Check out all the updates from Wednesday’s debate and votes here.