(Reuters) - The Democratic-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee debates articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, as the panel moves toward a vote to recommend the charges of misconduct to the full House of Representatives.
The start of debate sets in motion a process that will probably move to a trial in the U.S. Senate.
Here is what will likely happen in coming days:
Thursday, Dec. 12
After making opening statements at a late session on Wednesday, lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee will reconvene at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) on Thursday to further debate the articles, consider any amendments and vote on whether to recommend them to the full House for a final impeachment vote.
Week of Dec. 15
The House is expected to vote on the charges, possibly after holding a daylong debate that could involve all 431 of its current legislators. If the full House voted to approve the articles, Trump would become only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. He would remain in office, however, pending a trial in the Senate.
If the impeachment is approved, the House would select lawmakers known as managers to present the case against Trump at a Senate trial. House Democrats say most of the managers are likely to come from the Judiciary Committee, and possibly from the Intelligence Committee that led the investigation.
Trump would face a trial in the Senate to determine whether he should be convicted and ousted from office. The Senate is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, who have shown little sign they will find him guilty. A two-thirds majority of those present in the 100-member chamber would be needed to convict Trump.
U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial. House managers would present their case against Trump, and the president’s legal team would respond. Senators would act
as jurors. A trial could involve testimony from witnesses and a grueling schedule in which proceedings occur six days a week for as many as six weeks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday a majority of the Senate could approve a shorter process by voting on the articles of impeachment after opening arguments, without witnesses.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Peter Henderson, Peter Cooney and Cynthia Osterman