With Democrats set to launch a second impeachment against President Trump if he doesn't resign 'immediately,' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has circulated a memo to GOP Senators outlining the mechanics of how a potential Senate trial would play out.
For starters, it would almost certainly occur after Trump leaves office on January 20, when Democrats take control of the Senate, according to the Washington Post. McConnell's memo notes that the Senate will not reconvene until January 19 for any substantive business - leaving the day before Joe Biden's inauguration as the earliest possible date for proceedings to begin.
Although the Senate will hold two pro forma sessions next week, on Jan. 12 and Jan. 15, it is barred from conducting any kind of business during those days — including “beginning to act on received articles of impeachment from the House” — without agreement from all 100 senators. With a cadre of Trump-allied senators in the Republican conference, that unanimous consent is highly unlikely. -Washington Post
"Again, it would require the consent of all 100 Senators to conduct any business of any kind during the scheduled pro forma sessions prior to January 19, and therefore the consent of all 100 Senators to begin acting on any articles of impeachment during those sessions," reads McConnell's memo.
This means an impeachment trial would need to be taken up by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who will become the majority leader after Republicans failed to hold the Senate following last week's Georgia runoff election (during which 'pro-Trump' attorney Lin Wood encouraged Republicans not to vote because the GOP candidates didn't support Trump's claims of widespread election fraud in the state).
McConnell's memo continues - outlining a scenario if the House should impeach Trump in the coming days (via WaPo):
●On Jan. 19, the Senate would receive a message from the House that it has appointed impeachment managers, and that the Senate would be ready to receive it.
●On Jan. 19 or 20, the House impeachment managers would exhibit the articles.
●On Jan. 20 or 21, the Senate would proceed to consideration of the impeachment articles at 1 p.m., and officially begin the trial. McConnell’s memo noted that the “Senate trial would therefore begin after President Trump’s term has expired — either one hour after its expiration on January 20, or twenty-five hours after its expiration on January 21.”
If Trump is successfully impeached, Congress could disqualify him from running for president again.
Meanwhile, there's a question of who would preside over the trial of a former president. In the case of a sitting president, that would fall to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, however McConnell's memo says it's "unclear" who would do so in the case of a former president.
Trump is accused of inciting an 'insurrection' for inviting his supporters to Washington D.C. for a protest during the counting of the Electoral College votes - during which a group of protesters, including the founder of a BLM group, were allowed to calmly file into the Capitol building where they wreaked havoc. Five people died in the incident, including a Trump supporter who was shot dead by capitol police.