President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial officially got underway on January 21. But how long will the impeachment trial last? Here is what we know so far. Please note that schedules can change without notice depending on what is happening.
The Trial Today Could Last 6 to 12 Hours a Day, Depending on What Happens, but the Schedule Varies from Day to Day
The impeachment trial on Tuesday, January 21 got underway at 1 p.m. Eastern, with the Senate coming into session at 12 p.m. Eastern. The trial is going to be extensive, taking place six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Many days it starts at 1 p.m. Eastern, but not every day.
According to an early resolution by Mitch McConnell, the trial would include opening arguments in the first week, CNN reported. Each day’s trial could wrap up around 7 p.m. Eastern. However, there’s a possibility that on some days it could go on longer, possibly even lasting for 12 hours until 1 a.m. Eastern, with most days getting underway around 1 p.m. Eastern.
But this can change from day to day. On Saturday, January 25, Trump’s defense team chose to present from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., but they ended up wrapping up in just two hours.
The Impeachment Schedule
On January 21, the Senate voted on McConnell’s resolution and the rules for the impeachment trial. Opening arguments began on Wednesday, January 22 at 1 p.m. Eastern and might last until 1 a.m. Eastern each day, but they could end earlier.
As for the exact schedule, it could get a little confusing. Democrats want to call witnesses, but Mitch McConnell’s resolution doesn’t allow for that. So debates on these topics will be in a closed session, AP noted. Expect much of today to revolve around resolutions for organizing the impeachment, along with motions on evidence and witnesses.
House impeachment managers were originally going to be given two days (12 hours each day) to give opening arguments. Trump’s legal defense would also be given two days (12 hours each) to give their opening arguments. Each side doesn’t have to take their entire time period. That time was later extended to three days with 24 hours total per side.
In other words that means:
- Tuesday: Voting on rules and motions can be made by Wednesday morning (which might include a motion to dismiss)
- Wednesday, January 22: Prosecution arguments
- Thursday, January 23: Prosecution arguments
- Friday, January 24: Prosecution arguments
- Saturday, January 25: Defense arguments (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
- Sunday, January 26: Day off
- Monday, January 27 – Defense arguments
- Tuesday, January 28 – Defense arguments (not clear if happening) or Q&A to legal defense teams
- Wednesday, January 29 – Q&A to legal defense teams
- After this, it’s unclear. There might be witnesses or there might not. If witnesses are allowed, they would be deposed first and then it would be determined if they could testify.
[An earlier version of this story listed some of the dates as being in October. That was an error.]
Senators have been given 16 hours to ask questions in writing of the legal teams through Chief Justice John Roberts. Whether or not witnesses will be called is still a question that is being debated. Witnesses would be deposed before giving live testimony (if they gave live testimony.)
You can read the full proposed rules for the trial here.
In the end, the Senate will vote on the two articles of impeachment that the House approved. More than likely, since the Republicans have the majority, Trump will not be removed from office. A 2/3 majority of the Senate’s 100 members would need to vote for the President to be removed from office. A total of 67 Senators would need to vote to convict and remove Trump. There are 45 Democrat Senators and 53 Republican Senators, plus two Independents who typically vote Democrat. So to reach the 67 total needed to remove Trump, they would need at least 20 Republicans to join. That’s just not likely to happen.