Chief Justice John Roberts will not be presiding like he did for Trump’s first impeachment trial, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Instead, Sen. Patrick Leahy, the President pro tempore of the Senate, is expected to preside, the sources said. The Constitution says the chief justice presides when the person facing trial is the current president of the United States, but senators preside in other cases, one source said.
There are still two big looming questions over the Democrats’ impeachment case: Whether they will seek witnesses and how long the trial will take. The answers to both are still not known yet, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
The exact time frame of the trial itself, which will begin the week of February 8, is also unknown, but multiple impeachment managers have said they don’t think it will go as long as the 21 days of Trump’s trial in 2020. The expectation is still, however, that it will take up much of February and wrap up by month’s end, if not sooner.
The impeachment trial officially gets in motion Monday evening when the House impeachment managers will walk the impeachment article to the Senate, even though the substance of the trial has been put off for another two weeks.
The likelihood that Leahy will oversee the trial has raised questions about whether he will also be eligible to vote, but constitutional experts say that nothing would stop him from doing so.
“He’s a sitting senator, he still gets to vote. Nothing in the Constitution would preclude him from voting,” said Frank Bowman, a University of Missouri law professor who has written extensively about impeachment.
Senators to be sworn in Tuesday
The scheduling leading up to the trial’s arguments was resolved Friday after a week’s worth of uncertainty over when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would send the article to the Senate, thanks to a deal reached between Senate leaders.
The House impeachment managers will walk the article from the House to the Senate on Monday evening, and Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager, will read the article on the floor. On Tuesday, senators will be sworn in for the trial as jurors. Then there will be a two-week period for pre-trial briefs, and the trial itself will get underway the week of February 8.
“I think it’s time to move on from this impeachment trial,” said Sen. Roger Marshall, the newly elected Republican from Kansas. “The impeachment trial is unconstitutional.”
“It was a dual attack on our capitol in a joint session of congress on the very day we were completing our constitutional obligation to certify the electors,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, one of the nine Democratic House impeachment managers. “It is an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime, and we must move forward.”
“I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense. If not, what is?” Romney said of Trump’s actions inciting the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol.
On Sunday, Leahy hinted at the prospect that he would preside, saying it was a “real possibility” and that he’d been preparing in case he had to take on the role.
“I can’t tell you how many hundreds of hours my staff and I have gone over the Constitution procedure, because it appears I may well be the one presiding over the trial,” Leahy said on MSNBC.
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Monday.
CNN’s Joan Biskupic contributed to this report.