WASHINGTON — The fourth trial of a U.S. President in American history is likely to play out this month just after Joe Biden takes the oath of office and Democrats take a one-vote majority in the Senate.
The House of Representatives voted 232-197 in favor of one article of impeachment against President Trump following last Wednesday's siege on the U.S. Capitol building. That article now will be passed along to the Senate which will be the venue for a trial of the President.
"I do think conviction is important. I think the evidence has been in plain sight," said Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). "He perpetrated this lie and then incited people to attack the Capitol and our democracy."
The Senate trial of President Trump, however, will not begin right away. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is in charge of the Senate agenda and in a statement, he says there's "no chance" a trial will happen before President-Elect Biden is sworn in.
Because of that, the Senate will be forced to do two of its constitutionally mandated tasks at the same time; the impeachment trial and the Senate must offer "advice and consent" to a president's cabinet nominees.
Van Hollen said confirmation hearings for Biden's nominees to the departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Treasury and the Director of National Intelligence will take place within the next seven days.
But the Senate will likely not reconvene for floor action until January 20th or later.
"I believe we're going to be able to work it out so we can proceed on two tracks. That we can proceed with the trial as well as proceed with confirmation of a number of the nominees," said Van Hollen.
Sen. Van Hollen said he's confident more Republicans will be willing to convict President Trump than in the 2020 trial. Mitt Romney (R-UT) was the lone GOP senator to do so.
17 Republicans would have to cross over for Trump to become the first convicted President in U.S. history.