The historic Senate impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump is officially underway as Chief Justice John Roberts and the Senators who will serve as jurors have been sworn in.
“Senators, I attend the Senate in conformity with your notice for the purpose of joining with you for the trial of the president of the United States,” Roberts said, before Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the president pro tempore, who administered the oath to him.
Roberts then immediately swore in the senators, who will act as the jury in the trial. One by one, each senator took turns approaching the well of the Senate to sign an oath book.
After the swearing-in, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the trial will continue at 1 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 21.
Earlier on Thursday, House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving led a procession of Democratic “managers” across the Capitol and the upper chamber formally received the articles of impeachment.
Prior to the swearing in ceremonies, the Senate officially recognized the House managers who will prosecute the case against President Trump. The body then began a formal presentation of the two articles of impeachment brought against him – charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye — All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, president,” Irving said on the Senate floor.
Those words marked only the third impeachment of a president in the history of the nation.
In a press conference with Democrats on Thursday afternoon, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said he hopes the gravity of the occasion will sway some Republicans’ votes on witnesses and the documents that the Democrats have requested. He said he expects a vote on witnesses on Tuesday.
But bitter partisanship remains. At an earlier press conference, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., blasted the partisan impeachment as “taxpayer-funded campaign stunt.” He railed against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for an impeachment signing event with souvenir pens, when she’s said all along impeachment must be solemn and prayerful.
“If this was real, if this was really as serious as they claimed this would be, yesterday was no cause for celebration,” McCarthy said.