March 1, 2021

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Impeachment schedule: When will the trial end Saturday? Vote expected within hours? – CNET

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump moved on to closing arguments Saturday, making a vote on a verdict possible later in the day. Earlier Saturday, the Senate agreed 55 to 45 to call witnesses, a move that threatened to extend the trial by days or possibly even weeks. Closing arguments could take as long as four hours.

The call for witnesses came Saturday morning, following a Friday night statement from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. The Washington state Republican had said that in a phone call with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, which took place during the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol, Trump had expressed sympathy for the mob.

WatchHow to watch Trump impeachment trial live coverage now

Despite the call for witnesses, Senators decided instead to enter Herrera Beutler’s statement into the record and continue on to the closing statements. Trump is charged with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the deadly attack on the Capitol.

Here’s how the trial schedule could run now. And here’s a recap of the impeachment trial so far.

US Capitol buildingUS Capitol building

The impeachment trial is taking place at the Capitol, scene of the deadly riot that lies at the heart of the charge against Trump.

Getty Images

When will the impeachment vote happen Saturday?

The vote to call witnesses could’ve extended the schedule of the impeachment trial significantly, requiring the Senate to provide enough time to depose each agreed-to witness. Instead, House managers and the Trump defense team are expected to finish their presentations Saturday, with the members of the Senate then expected to vote on a verdict.

Each side will have two hours to make their concluding statements, though both sides have used less time than given during earlier parts of the trial. The defense took only a handful of hours to lay out its case Friday, rather than the two full days it was entitled to use. 

With Senators deciding not to call witnesses, the trial is on track to be the shortest impeachment trial ever for a US president. Trump’s first trial, in 2019, ran 21 days. The trial of President Bill Clinton took 37 days; that of President Andrew Johnson lasted 83 days. Trump is the first US president to be impeached twice.

For more information on Trump’s impeachment, you can follow along with the trial and see the videos presented as evidence so far.

Brett Pearce/CNET


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