Opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial for Donald Trump over the Capitol riot will begin the week of February 8th, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced.
It will be the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office.
The schedule was agreed on Friday evening after Democrats reached an agreement with Republicans, who had pushed for a delay to give Mr Trump a chance to organise his legal team and prepare a defence on the sole charge of incitement of insurrection.
The February start date also allows the Senate more time to confirm US president Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominations and consider his proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which are top priorities of the new White House agenda that could become stalled during trial proceedings.
“We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us,” Mr Schumer said about the deadly January 6th Capitol siege by a mob of pro-Trump supporters.
“But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will send the article of impeachment late on Monday, with senators sworn in as jurors on Tuesday. But opening arguments will move to February.
The article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection by Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday, January 25. https://t.co/FSOWGACfgZ
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 22, 2021
Mr Trump’s impeachment trial would be the first of a US president no longer in office, an undertaking that his Senate Republican allies argue is pointless and potentially even unconstitutional.
Democrats say they have to hold Mr Trump to account, even as they pursue Mr Biden’s legislative priorities, because of the gravity of what took place — a violent attack on the US Congress aimed at overturning an election.
If Mr Trump is convicted the Senate could vote to bar him from holding office ever again, potentially upending his chances for a political comeback.