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What’s Next for Trump? A Senate Impeachment Trial, Probably

Now that the House has voted to impeach President Trump, the matter would normally move to the Senate for a trial — the third for an American president.


But questions about the timing of a trial arose after the House approved two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump. Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, wouldn’t say when she would transmit the articles, indicating that she may wait to get certain assurances about the fairness of a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate.

但是在眾議院通過兩項針對特朗普的彈劾條款后,出現了有關審判時宜的問題。眾議院議長南希·佩洛西(Nancy Pelosi)不愿透露她將何時移送條款,這表明她可能會等待共和黨控制的參議院對公平審判做出一定的保證。


A trial would require a two-thirds majority — 67 senators — to convict and remove the president. Republicans control the Senate, 53 to 47, and Mr. Trump is widely expected to be acquitted. But Democrats have argued that impeaching him is a moral necessity, even if he remains in office.


Mr. Trump is only the third president to face a Senate trial for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” (The first two, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, were both acquitted. Another president, Richard M. Nixon, resigned rather than face impeachment and trial.)

特朗普是第三位因“重罪和不端行為”面臨參議員審判的總統。(前兩位安德魯·約翰遜[Andrew Johnson]和比爾·克林頓[Bill Clinton]均被宣告無罪。另一位總統,理查德·尼克松[Richard Nixon]因辭職避開了彈劾和審判。)

Here’s what we know about how it would unfold.


When is the trial expected? How long will it be?


This is unclear. While the president and his allies are eager for a speedy acquittal, Ms. Pelosi’s comments raised the possibility that the House could leave for the holidays without the matter resolved — leaving the stain of impeachment with no conclusion.


A trial had been expected to begin in early January, and it’s unclear how long it would last. Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed an interest in keeping it short.


The 1999 trial of Mr. Clinton, who was tried on two articles of impeachment — perjury and obstruction of justice — lasted about five weeks.


Who does what?


To start, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California would appoint a team of lawmakers to act as prosecutors during the trial. They are called managers, and they present the articles of impeachment to the Senate.


The chief justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr., would preside over the trial, and a legal team would defend Mr. Trump. Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, is expected to represent Mr. Trump, along with the president’s outside lawyers.

美國首席大法官小約翰·G·羅伯茨(John G. Roberts Jr.)將主持審判,一個法律團隊將為特朗普辯護。預計白宮法律顧問帕特·A·希波隆(Pat A. Cipollone)將與總統的外部律師一起代表特朗普。

The Senate would have to come to an agreement on the trial procedures. Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Chuck Schumer of New York, the Republican and Democratic leaders, have already sparred over that task.
參議院必須就審判程序達成一致。作為共和黨和民主黨領袖,肯塔基州參議員米奇·麥康奈爾(Mitch McConnell)和紐約州參議員查克·舒默(Chuck Schumer)已經就這一問題發生爭執。

How will it work?


Any senator could propose a motion to dismiss the charges. (A simple majority vote would be needed.)


But if the trial proceeds, there would be opening and closing statements, questions from senators to the managers and defense lawyers, and, possibly, more subpoenas, evidence requests and witnesses called. Deliberations would likely happen in a closed session before a vote.


Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist presided over Mr. Clinton’s trial, during which senators were allowed to ask questions of the prosecution and defense through written notecards. Justice Rehnquist read them aloud.

首席大法官威廉·倫奎斯特(William H. Rehnquist)主持了克林頓的審判,在審判期間,參議員被允許通過書面記錄卡向控方和辯方提問,倫奎斯特大法官將其念出來。

When the White House counsel leading Mr. Clinton’s defense, Charles F. C. Ruff, wanted to rebut, he put down his pen, which signaled Democratic aides to submit a question asking Mr. Ruff to comment on assertions made by the opposition.

當領導克林頓辯護的白宮法律顧問查爾斯·魯夫(Charles Ruff)想要反駁時,他用放下筆的動作示意民主黨的助手們提交一個問題,讓魯夫對反方的主張發表意見。

What are the rules?


Essentially, it’s up to senators to decide the format of the trial, but they will most likely follow a set of rules governing impeachment trials that were revised in the 1980s.


Senators also act as the jury, and must take an oath to render “impartial justice.” (A handful of the jurors are running for president.)


Mr. Schumer laid out a detailed proposal this week that called for additional witnesses who have not previously testified (including Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser) as well as subpoenas for additional documents that the White House has withheld.

舒默本周提出了一份詳細提案,要求增加之前未作證的證人(包括特朗普的代理幕僚長米克·馬爾瓦尼[Mick Mulvaney]、總統前國家安全顧問約翰·R·博爾頓[John R. Bolton]),并命令白宮交出更多扣留的文件。

Mr. McConnell rejected Democrats’ demands to call White House officials as witnesses and said he had no obligation to be evenhanded or impartial during the proceedings. He is working with the White House to establish rules for the trial, trying to balance Mr. Trump’s desire for vindication with lawmakers’ concerns.


During Mr. Clinton’s trial, witnesses were not allowed to appear in person. Senators were shown videotaped portions of their testimony instead.


“When the Senate decided what the rules were going to be for our trial, they really made them up as they went along,” Gregory B. Craig, who helped defend Mr. Clinton in his impeachment proceeding and later served as White House counsel to President Barack Obama, told The New York Times in 2017.

格雷戈里·B·克雷格(Gregory B. Craig)在2017年告訴《紐約時報》:“當參議院決定我們審判的規則時,他們真的是邊進行邊制定。”他曾在克林頓的彈劾程序中為其辯護,后來擔任了貝拉克·奧巴馬(Barack Obama)的白宮法律顧問。

What does the Constitution say about all this?


The Constitution permits Congress to remove presidents before their term is up if enough lawmakers vote to say that they have committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”


But it does not explain how lawmakers should interpret what constitutes those offenses. Similarly, there is no established standard of proof that must be met.


How might it end?


A conviction would require a two-thirds vote on at least one article, resulting in the president’s removal from office, with no opportunity to appeal. The vice president would take over as president.


The Senate could subsequently vote to disqualify the president from future office, using a simple majority vote.


Though a conviction is unlikely — barring some unexpected development — the trial could have political ramifications for both parties.


How did previous impeachment trials end?


The Johnson trial, in 1868, was anticlimactic, and mired in constant battles over process and authority between long-winded men in love with their own words, according to Brenda Wineapple, the author of “The Impeachers.”

根據《彈劾者》(The Impeachers)一書作者布倫達·維恩阿波(Brenda Wineapple)的說法,1868年對約翰遜的審判虎頭蛇尾,陷入了愛長篇大論的咬文嚼字者之間在程序和權威方面的無休止的斗爭。

In the end, enough Republicans rallied with Democrats to spare Johnson from conviction by a single vote.


On Feb. 12, 1999, the Senate acquitted Mr. Clinton, falling short of even a majority vote on either of the charges against him.

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