US Senate to focus on Biden agenda, puts off Trump trial

Photo: AP Chuck Schumer (L) and Mitch McConnel

The US Senate has announced it had reached agreement to focus with priority on President Joe Biden’s anti-crisis agenda and thus postpone with a couple weeks at least to early February hearings related to the impeachment of Donald Trump, Reuters reported. Both Democrat and Republican leaders in Senate have confirmed early focus on the legislative agenda of the new US cabinet.

The Democrat leader Chuck Schumer has earmarked the week starting on 8 February as a possible beginning of the Trump trial. His statement was backed by the top Republican in the Chamber Mitch McConnel.

The House of Representatives is due to formally deliver to the Senate on Monday the impeachment charge accusing Trump of inciting an insurrection, a move that ordinarily would have triggered the beginning of the trial within a day. The charge stems from Trump’s incendiary speech to supporters before they stormed the Capitol on 6 January in a rampage that delayed the formal congressional certification of Biden’s election victory and left five people dead, including a police officer.

The timeline was an agreed deal after McConnell had asked the Democratic-led House to delay sending the charge until next Thursday, and called on Schumer to postpone the trial until mid-February to give Trump more time to prepare a defense.

Trump on 13 January became the first U.S. president to have been impeached twice. The Senate acquitted him last year in the previous trial focused on Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate Biden and his son. Trump’s presidential term ended on 20 January.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters earlier that the Senate should be able to move forward with both the trial and Biden’s agenda, beginning with his call for $1.9 trln of fresh Covid-19 assistance for Americans and the U.S. economy.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump, said the agreement between Schumer and McConnell was “fair to all concerned.”

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