House Democrats formally trigger Trump impeachment trial in Senate

Hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi named seven Democratic lawmakers to act as the prosecutors for the House impeachment case against President Donald Trump, the House on Wednesday evening gave the Senate official notification that it was ready to proceed with a trial of the President on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"A few minutes ago, the Senate was notified that the House of Representatives is finally ready to proceed with their articles of impeachment," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The historic trial - only the third of a President in U.S. history - will officially begin on Thursday with the arrival of Chief Justice John Roberts and the swearing-in of Senators.

Opening arguments in the case are expected to begin on Tuesday.

The official moves came four weeks after the House had voted to impeach the President on two charges, as Democrats delayed in hopes of forcing Senate Republicans to call witnesses who refused to testify in House impeachment hearings.

While that gambit did not work, new evidence did surface over that time period, including documents and messages gathered by Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of the President's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Parnas worked with Giuliani in Ukraine, helping in his effort to force out then-U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

The new materials, which included texts and other electronic messages involving Parnas, Giuliani, and others, also held notes which mentioned getting Ukraine to announce "that the Biden case will be investigated."

It was the President's withholding of military aid - combined with an effort to ask for the Ukraine government to announce investigations of the Bidens and the 2016 elections - which prompted Democrats to convene impeachment hearings.

Republicans greeted the official arrival of the impeachment charges with scorn and ridicule.

"Democrats have politicized impeachment and denied President Trump his fundamental right to due process," said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). "It’s clear Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives failed to make their case."

"By delaying the process, Speaker Pelosi confirmed that this impeachment is a partisan political exercise," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

About the Author