Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the most senior member of the Senate Democratic Conference, will preside over Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial instead of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
“The president pro tempore has historically presided over Senate impeachment trials of non-presidents. When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes an additional special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and its laws. It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously,” Leahy said in a statement according to the Hill. He vowed to “not waver from my constitutional and sworn obligations to administer the trial with fairness, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws.”
Leahy also pushed back on Republican criticism of his role in the trial saying, “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. I’m not presenting the evidence. I’m making sure that procedures are followed.”
Chief Justice Roberts presided over Trump’s first impeachment trial, as designated by the Constitution. But the Constitution did not say who should presides over the Senate trial of a former president, and a former president has never faced an impeachment trial in the Senate.
The article of impeachment charging Trump with incitement of insurrection will be delivered to the Senate at 7 p.m. on Monday.
Trump was impeached by a bipartisan majority in the House last week after he encourage a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol to interrupt the Electoral College certification of President Biden’s victory on January 6.