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President-elect Joe Biden implored senators to manage their time as they prepare for President Trump’s impeachment trial.
Biden described Trump’s second impeachment by the House, 232 Democrats to 197 Republicans, as a “bipartisan” exercise of constitutional power to “hold the president accountable” after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump loyalists.
“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy. I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation,” Biden said Wednesday in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated he won’t reconvene the chamber before Tuesday. That ensures Trump’s trial will start after Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, when Democrats control the Senate.
“From confirmations to key posts such as Secretaries for Homeland Security, State, Defense, Treasury, and Director of National Intelligence, to getting our vaccine program on track, and to getting our economy going again. Too many of our fellow Americans have suffered for too long over the past year to delay this urgent work,” Biden added Wednesday.
Trump on Wednesday was impeached on one article of inciting an insurrection after his supporters mobbed the Capitol. Trump die-hards had hoped to stop the certification of Biden’s majority of electors awarded after the 2020 election.
Trump’s conviction in the Senate requires a supermajority, so 17 Republicans would have to find him culpable for the riot. He would be the first president convicted as part of impeachment proceedings, though the law is unclear since he would have left office by the time senators weigh the evidence against him.
Five people died last Wednesday during the violence, including one U.S. Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick.