Vermont's Sen. Patrick Leahy to Preside Over Trump Impeachment Trial

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump's first impeachment trial, as required by the Constitution, but senators typically preside when other officials are brought to trial in the Senate

This Jan. 12, 2021, file photo shows Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, speaking to reporters at the U.S. Capitol.
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images, File

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, will preside over former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

Leahy is the president pro tempore of the Senate, the position that presides over the chamber when the vice president is not present. The president pro tem, as it's also called, is also the third in line for presidential succession.

"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," Leahy said in a statement Monday.

At Trump's first impeachment trial, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided, as required by the Constitution. It says, "When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside."

President Donald Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives and awaits a trial in the Senate. Sue O’Connell and Rob Michaelson break down what to expect, and how Massachusetts politicians helped lead impeachments passed.

But Trump is no longer the president as his historic second impeachment trial looms, and senators typically preside when other officials are brought to trial after being impeached by the House of Representatives.

Before Trump, the last person to be tried by the Senate was federal Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. in 2010. He was convicted and barred from holding federal office again, something the Senate may consider if it convicts Trump on the charge of inciting insurrection.

Leahy is the longest-serving Democrat in the Senate, and the body customarily selects as president pro tempore the senator in the party with the majority who's served the longest without interruption. He's served in the role twice before.

Leahy was elected to the Senate nearly half a century ago, in 1974, and is the only Vermont Democrat to ever serve as senator. Before heading to Washington, the Montpelier native served as Chittenden County's state's attorney.

The House was set to deliver its new article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate on Monday, with the trial set to begin the week of Feb. 8.

Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., react to news that the Article of Impeachment against former President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday.
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