The articles of impeachment charging US President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress were delivered to the Senate on Wednesday, setting in motion a historic trial that threatens his removal from office.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell announced that the articles would be formally read to the chamber on Thursday at noon (1700 GMT), after which Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in to preside over the trial.
Senators will then be sworn in as jurors on Thursday, and preparations will get underway for an impeachment trial that will begin on Tuesday, January 21.
“This is a difficult time for our country, but this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate,” McConnell said, referring to the authors of the US Constitution.
The two articles of impeachment – one for abuse of power and the other for obstructing the House investigation – were delivered in blue folders in a solemn procession by the newly-appointed House managers, seven Democrats who will prosecute the case against the president.
“Today we will make history,″ Pelosi said as she signed the documents, using multiple pens to hand out and mark the moment. “This president will be held accountable.”
Moments later the prosecutors walked solemnly through the stately hall, filing into the Senate back row as the Clerk of the House announced the arrival: “The House has passed House Resolution 798, a resolution appointing and authorizing managers of the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, President of United States.”
The Senate will transform itself into an impeachment court at noon Thursday. The Constitution calls for Chief Justice John Roberts to preside at the trial, administering the oath to senators who will serve as jurors and swear to deliver “impartial justice.”