The day before the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump was set to begin, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that they have reached agreement on the rules for the proceedings. The trial began on Tuesday and is expected to last approximately one week.
Details of Time Limits
The agreements provide for the House impeachment managers and Trump’s team of lawyers to receive four hours—evenly divided between the two groups—to begin the trial with opening arguments regarding its constitutionality. A vote will follow.
Assuming the trial proceeds, each team will be awarded 16 hours, over four days, to present their case. Each side will also receive equal time to respond to questions from senators; they will then make their closing arguments.
At this point, the case will go to the Senate for deliberations. The impeachment managers can call witnesses to the stand; if they decide to do so, it could prolong the proceedings.
Trump’s lawyers released a statement saying that they were happy with this bipartisan agreement regarding the structure and rules of the trial.
Trump Counsel Argued for Dismissal
In a 75-page pretrial legal brief they filed on Monday morning, Trump’s two lead attorneys contend that the single article of impeachment, charging the former president with “incitement of insurrection,” should be immediately dismissed. Lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor accused House Democrats of falling victim to “Trump derangement syndrome” while playing a dangerous game of political theater. The brief argued that the entire impeachment trial is unconstitutional because Trump is not even in office any longer.