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As Biden inauguration approaches, Pelosi has yet to send impeachment article to Senate

Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate is not set to resume formal business until the day before Biden is inaugurated.

Updated: January 16, 2021 - 12:21pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

With less than one week to go before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to formally deliver the House-passed article of impeachment to the Senate.

"In terms of the timing, as I mentioned, one week ago, on January 6th, there was an active insurrection perpetrated on the Capitol of the United States incentivized by the president of the United States," Pelosi said during a news conference on Friday. "One week later, Wednesday to Wednesday, that president was impeached in a bipartisan way by the House of Representatives. So urgent was the matter they're now working on taking this to trial, and you'll be the first to know when we announce that we're going over there."

According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate is not set to resume formal business until Jan. 19, the day before Biden's inauguration, so an impeachment trial wouldn't begin any earlier. 

Until Georgia Senate winners Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff as well as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in, McConnell remains majority leader and sets the agenda in the Senate. 

Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has to certify the Senate election results by Jan. 22. After Warnock and Ossoff are sworn in, the makeup of the Senate will be 50-50 with Harris as the tie-breaking vote.

On Wednesday, the day the House voted to impeach Trump, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that a Senate trial could begin immediately with agreement from "the current Senate majority leader to reconvene the Senate for an emergency session, or it will begin after January 19." 

"But make no mistake," Schumer continued, "there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate. There will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors, and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again."

If a Senate trial doesn't begin before Biden is inaugurated, "it is an open question as to whether a former president can face a Senate impeachment trial," according to the National Constitution Center.

It is also unclear who would preside over a trial in the Senate if Trump is out of office. The Constitution says that the Chief Justice of the United States presides over the trial of a president but is silent about who performs that function in the trial of an ex-president.

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