News & Politics

How to Watch Trump’s Impeachment Trial

Photograph by Evy Mages

The Senate’s impeachment trial of Donald Trump will begin next week, following the House’s vote to charge Trump with inciting an insurrection for his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The historic trial—a second impeachment for the former president, and the first trial of a commander-in-chief after he’s left office—will start on Tuesday, February 9, with opening arguments from the House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense lawyers.

US Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont will preside over the impeachment trial. Leading the House prosecution team is US Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who teaches constitutional law at American University and serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Trump, who recently had a fallout with some on his legal team, has enlisted former Roger Stone attorney David Schoen and former Pennsylvania acting attorney general Bruce Castor.

Pretrial briefs from both teams preview what arguments to expect: The House will seek to show senators that Trump used his power and position to encourage the violent attack on the Capitol, while Trump’s defense team will likely question the validity of the trial—arguing that he can’t be impeached now that he’s no longer president—and maintain that Trump’s actions were protected by the First Amendment.

Though we don’t know yet the specific rules for this impeachment trial or how long it could last, it will likely be quicker than Trump’s three-week trial last year. Both sides of the case will present their arguments and senators will ask questions, though Democrats are still considering the question of calling witnesses.

Once the trial begins, it’s a bit of a marathon. Lawmakers will gather at noon every day and work six days a week until they conclude (unless the trial organizers agree to different rules). Watch the proceedings on C-SPAN starting Tuesday, February 9, from 1 PM to 7 PM. The trial will also air on major TV news networks and stream online.

Rosa is a senior editor at Bitch Magazine. She’s written for Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazine.