The United States Congress opened the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Thursday, with House Democrats reading the formal charges from the well of the US Senate before the swearing-in of all 100 senators as jurors for only the third impeachment trial in US history.
“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye!” said the Senate’s sergeant at arms, calling the proceedings to order.
Seven legislators prosecuting the charges, led by Representative Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee and Representative Jerrold Nadler of the Judiciary Committee, made the solemn walk across the Capitol for a second day.
It’s the start of ceremonial protocol that shifts the proceedings out of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic-run House to the Republican-majority Senate.
Schiff, standing in the well of the Senate usually reserved for senators, began reading the resolution, “Impeaching Donald John Trump, president of the United States for high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Later in the afternoon, Chief Justice John Roberts was to administer the jurors’ oath to senators who swear to deliver “impartial justice”.
The events, unfolding during an election year as Trump seeks another term, will be a test not only of his presidency but also of the nation’s three branches of power and its system of checks and balances. Several senators are running for the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Trump in November.