Former US President Donald Trump will face his second impeachment trial in the United States Senate this week.
The trial is set to begin just under a month after the US House of Representatives impeached Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in relation to the deadly January 6 storming of the US Capitol and to repeated false claims the US election was stolen from him.
The proceedings will mark the first time a former president has faced an impeachment trial.
Two-thirds of the 100-member Senate would need to vote to convict Trump, and with Democrats only holding 50 seats in the chamber, that is considered unlikely.
Nine House Democrats, appointed as so-called “impeachment managers”, will argue that Trump pointed the rioters “like a loaded cannon” towards the Capitol and that his actions and words in the weeks leading up to the insurrection contributed to the violence.
Trump’s defence team will argue that a speech he gave before the riot is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, that he was denied due process, and that the proceedings are unconstitutional as Trump is no longer in office.
While a conviction would not remove Trump, who will not testify during the trial, from office, it could lead to him being barred from holding future federal office through a subsequent Senate vote.
Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump’s first impeachment trial, as is required by the US Constitution. Roberts declined to participate in this trial, however, and there is no law regarding who should preside over the impeachment trial of a former president.
Leahy will perform key duties, including reading questions submitted by legislators. He can also theoretically rule on the admissibility of evidence, but can be overruled by a Senate vote.
Leahy has shrugged off criticism from Republicans that he would not be objective in the role.
“I have presided over hundreds of hours in my time in the Senate. I don’t think anybody has ever suggested I was anything but impartial in those hundreds of hours,” he told reporters in January.
Former President Donald TrumpTrump served a single term in office before losing to Democrat Joe Biden.
He maintained the election was marred by widespread fraud, without producing any evidence to support the claim. An array of legal challenges and recounts spurred by Trump and his allies uniformly failed to change the vote results in any state.
The former president refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory before leaving office on January 20, and only acknowledged a new administration would be taking over after the storming of the US Capitol.
Trump remains banned from major social media platforms and has been living in Florida since leaving the White House.
Senator Chuck Schumer, Senate majority leader
Schumer became the Senate majority leader last month after Democrats won dual run-offs in Georgia.
The party currently controls 50 seats in the chamber and Vice President Kamala Harris will cast deciding votes.
As Senate Majority leader, Schumer was responsible for setting the format and schedule of the impeachment trial.
Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader
McConnell is the most powerful Republican in the Senate and has led negotiations with Schumer about the shape of the trial.
He condemned Trump’s actions early on, saying the president fed his supporters lies that directly resulted in the Capitol riot. But he also rebuffed efforts to hold Trump’s trial before he left office.
McConnell voted in favour of a motion that deemed proceeding with the trial unconstitutional because Trump was no longer in office.