Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday, Jan. 25, said that former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial won’t last long in the Senate, indicating that he didn’t think many witnesses are needed.
“The trial will be done in a way that is fair but … relatively quickly,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, The Hill reported. “I don’t think there’s a need for a whole lot of witnesses.”
In lightning-quick proceedings, House Democrats voted to impeach the former president on Jan. 13 on a single count of “incitement of insurrection” which is related to his speech at the Capitol on Jan. 6. President Trump in his speech that day told supporters to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
The House impeachment managers walked the article to the Senate floor on Monday, Jan. 25 and senators will be sworn in as judges and jurors for the trial the next day. Schumer announced that the impeachment trial is set to begin the week of Feb. 8.
Democrats now control the Senate as Vice President Kamala Harris has the tie-breaking vote. On Monday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that he will be presiding over the trial. Chief Justice John Roberts, who presided over President Trump’s first impeachment trial, reportedly declined to take the position.
“His act on the 6th was the most despicable thing any president has ever done. And he is the worst president ever,” Schumer said of Trump during his first national TV interview since becoming Senate majority leader.
Schumer insisted that moving forward with the impeachment trial against the former president will “unify America.”
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden said on Monday that it seems Democrats will be unable to convict Trump during the trial by convincing 17 Republicans in the Senate to join them.
A number of law experts have accused Democrats of violating the Constitution by trying to convict a private citizen. Opposition to convicting the former president is growing among Senate Republicans as the trial date nears.
“I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Sunday.
“I think the trial is stupid. I think it’s counterproductive,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told Fox News. “We already have a flaming fire in this country and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said the impeachment is “unconstitutional” and it would “set a very dangerous precedent,” while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called on Schumer to dismiss the article of impeachment, referring to a trial of Trump after leaving office as “an unconstitutional act of political vengeance.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has accused Trump of provoking the Capitol riot, but he hasn’t said how he intends to vote in the impeachment trial.