The Senate on Thursday officially opened the impeachment trial against President Trump, formally accepting a pair of articles presented by House Democrats.
Seven House Democrats serving as prosecutors — handpicked a day earlier by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — solemnly walked together from the House chamber over to the Senate to present the articles of impeachment, in a similar ceremonial display to when they delivered them to the upper chamber the previous night. Stepping into the well of the Senate, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) read the resolution naming the seven House prosecutors or “impeachment managers” and informing the Senate that his chamber had charged Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors.
Schiff, the lead manager, then read the two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — pertaining to Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations into Democrat Joe Biden and other political rivals.
The ceremony, filled with pomp and circumstance, marked the official handoff of the months-long impeachment process from the House to the Senate, which in the coming weeks will vote on whether to end Trump’s presidency.
Later Thursday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts made the short drive across the street to the Senate, where he was sworn in to preside over the trial. Roberts was escorted to the Senate dais by a bipartisan quartet: Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).The chief justice then administered an oath to all of the senators, who pledged to uphold "impartial justice." The substance of the trial is expected to start Tuesday following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It will begin with the Senate passing a resolution that establishes rules and procedures for the trial.