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Trump's 2nd impeachment trial: How long will it take?

Proceedings will begin Tuesday and are expected to last around a week.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Former President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial is set to begin Tuesday with a sense of urgency behind it from both Democrats and Republicans.

With efforts underway, the first president to be impeached twice is also the first to face such a trial after leaving the White House. It's a topic of discussion expected to kick-start the trial process. Members of Congress will ask the question: Is this legal under the Constitution?

But before we breakdown what you can expect and when all of this will be over, let's look back at how we arrived at this day. 

Just more than a month ago, a pro-Trump mob, who Democrats say was encouraged by his call to "fight like hell" to overturn the election, stormed the U.S. Capitol and staged an insurrection

In the aftermath, several people were injured, major arrests were made and five people, including a protester and U.S. Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick, lost their lives as a result of the most violent siege Congress saw in more than 200 years. 

Then on Jan. 13, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached the then-president on the charge of "incitement of insurrection." When filing their document House impeachment lawyers stated the former president had "betrayed the American people."

“His incitement of insurrection against the United States government — which disrupted the peaceful transfer of power — is the most grievous constitutional crime ever committed by a president," the Democrats said.

How long will the impeachment trial take?

The short answer: It's likely the trial will take around a week, with a vote expected early in the week of Feb. 15.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the impeachment trial schedule on Monday saying: 

“I’m pleased that all parties - the managers, former president’s counsel and Leader McConnell - have agreed to this plan to ensure a fair and honest bipartisan Senate impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump this week."

Proceedings officially got underway at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9 with four hours of arguments equally divided between the impeachment managers and the former president's counsel.

Both sides are arguing the constitutionality of the trial. A Senate vote will follow and needs a simple majority, which is expected, to proceed.

Then, the trial would go forward.

Up to 16 hours per side will then be given to present their case on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 12 p.m. Each side is given no more than two days to make their entire presentation.

After that, senators are given a total of four hours to question the two parties on what they've heard.

Then there is the matter of witnesses. While it appears there will be few called, there is still time carved out for arguments on whether the Senate should consider motions to subpoena witnesses. 

Most noticeably, Trump denied the request to testify under oath at his trial with his lawyers calling the situation a "public relations stunt."

Should anyone be subpoenaed, more time would be needed during the trial to depose them. 

A Trump lawyer has withdrawn the request for trial proceedings to come to a halt starting 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday due to the Jewish Sabbath. This could lead to a vote coming to a head much sooner than initially anticipated.

Once closing arguments are reached, four hours equally divided between both sides will be allocated. 

A Senate vote on the article of impeachment would immediately follow unless senators ask for deliberation time.

What is needed to impeach Trump and what happens next?

Once the several days of proceedings come to a head with the Senate vote, a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict Trump of the "incitement of insurrection" charge.

If convicted, the Senate can take a second vote to bar Trump from holding office in the future.

An acquittal would mean a victory for the former president and his lawyers no matter how short-lived it could potentially be. 

Last month, after it was made clear that Trump was unlikely to be convicted, some senators floated a censure resolution. It is unclear at this time if they will push for a censure vote after the impeachment trial.

You can watch daily proceedings right here on 10 Tampa Bay.

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