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Senate impeachment trial against Trump highly unlikely before he leaves office in 9 days

Potential trial wouldn't get underway before Jan. 19; GOP holds Senate majority until Georgia runoff winners sworn-in as senators

Updated: January 11, 2021 - 6:57pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

If the House votes this week to impeach President Trump, a Senate trial would be highly unlikely to commence before he leaves office on Jan. 20.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell say the upper chamber does not formally come back into session for official business until Jan. 19, which is the day before Democrat Joe Biden's presidential inauguration.

The Kentucky Republican sent a memo to fellow GOP senators explaining that the earliest the Senate would hypothetically "proceed to consideration of the impeachment articles" is at p.m. on Jan. 20.

Republicans hold the Senate majority until Georgia Senate election results are certified and the winners, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, are official sworn-in as senators.

Some Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern that impeaching Trump this close to the end of his term would distract from Biden's agenda. 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn suggested on Sunday that House Democrats might wait on the impeachment until after Biden takes office, making it a largely symbolic effort. However, the U.S. Constitution allows the Senate to vote to bar an impeached president from holding "any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States." 

No president in U.S. history has been impeached after they're already out of office.

Impeachment articles have been filed in the House but an official vote has not occurred yet.