House managers and Trump’s defence team will each have 16 hours across two days to present their arguments.
Former US President Donald Trump will face his second impeachment trial in the United States Senate this week.
The trial is set to begin just under a month after the US House of Representatives impeached Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in relation to the deadly January 6 storming of the US Capitol and to repeated false claims the US election was stolen from him.
The proceedings will mark the first time a former president has faced an impeachment trial.
Two-thirds of the 100-member Senate would need to vote to convict Trump, and with Democrats only holding 50 seats in the chamber, that is considered unlikely.
Nine House Democrats, appointed as so-called “impeachment managers”, will argue that Trump pointed the rioters “like a loaded cannon” towards the Capitol and that his actions and words in the weeks leading up to the insurrection contributed to the violence.
Trump’s defence team will argue that a speech he gave before the riot is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, that he was denied due process, and that the proceedings are unconstitutional as Trump is no longer in office.
While a conviction would not remove Trump, who will not testify during the trial, from office, it could lead to him being barred from holding future federal office through a subsequent Senate vote.
Here is who’s who in Trump’s impeachment trial:
Senator Patrick Leahy, president pro tempore of the Senate
Democrat Leahy is the longest-serving senator in the chamber, and is third in the line of presidential succession. He will preside over the trial, a role typically reserved for the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump’s first impeachment trial, as is required by the US Constitution. Roberts declined to participate in this trial, however, and there is no law regarding who should preside over the impeachment trial of a former president.
Leahy will perform key duties, including reading questions submitted by legislators. He can also theoretically rule on the admissibility of evidence, but can be overruled by a Senate vote.
Leahy has shrugged off criticism from Republicans that he would not be objective in the role.
“I have presided over hundreds of hours in my time in the Senate. I don’t think anybody has ever suggested I was anything but impartial in those hundreds of hours,” he told reporters in January.
Former President Donald Trump
Trump served a single term in office before losing to Democrat Joe Biden.
He maintained the election was marred by widespread fraud, without producing any evidence to support the claim. An array of legal challenges and recounts spurred by Trump and his allies uniformly failed to change the vote results in any state.
The former president refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory before leaving office on January 20, and only acknowledged a new administration would be taking over after the storming of the US Capitol.
Trump remains banned from major social media platforms and has been living in Florida since leaving the White House.
Senator Chuck Schumer, Senate majority leader
Schumer became the Senate majority leader last month after Democrats won dual run-offs in Georgia.
The party currently controls 50 seats in the chamber and Vice President Kamala Harris will cast deciding votes.
As Senate Majority leader, Schumer was responsible for setting the format and schedule of the impeachment trial.
Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader
McConnell is the most powerful Republican in the Senate and has led negotiations with Schumer about the shape of the trial.
He condemned Trump’s actions early on, saying the president fed his supporters lies that directly resulted in the Capitol riot. But he also rebuffed efforts to hold Trump’s trial before he left office.
McConnell voted in favour of a motion that deemed proceeding with the trial unconstitutional because Trump was no longer in office.
House impeachment managers:
Jamie Raskin, representative from Maryland
Raskin, a former constitutional law professor at American University, will serve as the lead impeachment manager, the de facto lead prosecutor in the case.
Raskin began drafting the article of impeachment against Trump shortly after the Capitol storming. He had also worked on Trump’s first impeachment in December 2019, but was not an impeachment manager then.
He has represented his Maryland district in Congress since 2017.
Diana Degette, representative from Colorado
Degette, who was elected to the House in 1996, presided over the chamber’s debate about impeaching Trump in 2019.
Before becoming a legislator, Degette was a civil rights lawyer.
Degette is currently serving her 13th term in office.
David Cicilline, representative from Rhode Island
Cicilline helped draft the most recent article of impeachment against Trump. He had investigated Trump as a member of the House Judiciary Committee during his first impeachment.
Cicilline previously worked as a public defender and was mayor of Providence, Rhode Island.
“The president must be held accountable,” Cicilline wrote in a recent New York Times opinion piece. “That can happen only by impeaching him for a second time and convicting him in the Senate.”
Joaquin Castro, representative from Texas
Castro, 46, is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which held investigative hearings in Trump’s first impeachment in 2019.
He is a former leader of the Hispanic caucus and a critic of Trump’s immigration policies.
A Mexican-American legislator born in the state of Texas, Castro is serving his fifth term in Congress. His twin brother Julio ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Eric Swalwell, representative from California
Swalwell is on the House intelligence and judiciary committees and was involved in investigating Trump’s first impeachment.
He is a former prosecutor who in 2019 briefly sought the Democratic nomination for president.
The 40-year-old is serving his fifth term in Congress.
Ted Lieu, representative from California
Lieu is a former Air Force officer who was a prosecutor in the force’s legal branch, the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He is now a colonel in the Air Force Reserve.
Lieu is a co-sponsor of the most recent article of impeachment against Trump, along with Raskin and Cicilline.
Stacey Plaskett, representative from US Virgin Islands
Plaskett, a 54-year-old former prosecutor, represents the Virgin Islands, a US territory.
Before being elected to Congress in 2014, she was an assistant district attorney in the Bronx borough of New York City and senior counsel at the Department of Justice.
As Plaskett represents a US territory, she is not a voting member of the House.
Joe Neguse, representative from Colorado
Neguse is serving his second term in Congress.
The son of refugees from Eritrea, he is Colorado’s first African American congressman.
He is a member of the Judiciary Committee and earlier in his career was a litigator in private practice.
Madeleine Dean, representative from Pennsylvania
Dean is a former member of the Pennsylvania state legislature, where she served four terms before being elected to Congress in 2018.
Earlier, she worked as a lawyer in private practice and taught writing and ethics at LaSalle University.
She is a member of the Judiciary Committee.
Trump’s defence lawyers:
Schoen, a civil rights and criminal defence lawyer, previously represented Trump’s former adviser Roger Stone, who was convicted in November 2019 of lying under oath to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump pardoned Stone in December 2020, weeks before leaving office.
Schoen also reportedly considered becoming accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s lead lawyer, meeting with Epstein days before he killed himself in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
Castor is a former Pennsylvania district attorney known for his decision not to prosecute Bill Cosby in 2005 after a woman accused the entertainer of sexual assault.
In 2017, Castor sued Cosby’s accuser in the case for defamation, claiming she destroyed his political career.