Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Senate president professional tempore, is predicted to preside over former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial when it formally begins on Tuesday, assuming a job stuffed final yr by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., aides and different officers stated on Monday.
The Constitution states that the chief justice of the United States presides over any impeachment trial of the president or vice chairman. But it doesn’t explicitly give steerage on who ought to oversee the continuing for others, together with former presidents, and it appeared that Chief Justice Roberts was bored with reprising a time consuming function that might insert him and the Supreme Court immediately into the fractious political struggle over Mr. Trump.
Mr. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, lately reclaimed the mantle of president professional tempore — the place reserved for the longest-serving member of the bulk social gathering — when Democrats took management of the Senate. Mr. Leahy, 80, has been in workplace since 1974.
The function was largely ceremonial within the first impeachment trial of Mr. Trump a yr in the past. But because the presiding officer, Mr. Leahy might challenge rulings on key questions across the admissibility of proof and whether or not a trial of a former president is even allowed below the Constitution. (Mr. Leahy can also be nonetheless anticipated to have a vote within the trial, like different senators.)
The job might even have gone to Vice President Kamala Harris, in her capability as president of the Senate. But there have been clear drawbacks for Ms. Harris in overseeing what’s prone to be a divisive continuing that’s all however sure to be regarded by some as an effort by Democrats to make use of their newfound energy to punish the chief of the rival political social gathering.
Mr. Leahy’s presence on the dais might open Democrats to comparable costs from the proper, significantly if he points a contentious ruling, however officers stated there was no clear various with out the chief justice. In an announcement, Mr. Leahy stated he would take “extraordinarily seriously” his trial oath to manage “impartial justice.”
“When I preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, I will not waver from my constitutional and sworn obligations to administer the trial with fairness, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws,” he stated.
Senate aides steered Ms. Harris should have the ability to intervene to interrupt a tie if the trial ever deadlocked 50-50, as she will within the Senate’s regular course of enterprise.
It would take two-thirds of the Senate, 67 votes, to convict Mr. Trump, but when he have been convicted, solely a easy majority could be wanted to bar him from holding workplace once more.
The chief justice declined by way of a spokeswoman to remark.