Sen. Patrick Leahy, President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, is expected to preside over the upper chamber’s second impeachment trial of President Donald Trump — not U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts — according to CNN and NBC News.
New – Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Senate pro tempore, is expected to preside in impeachment trial, two sources tell me and @JoanBiskupic – not Chief Justice John Roberts
Senators preside when the person facing trial isn’t the current president of the United States, per one source
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 25, 2021
Two sources tell @NBCNews that Sen LEAHY is expected to preside of the impeachment trial of Pres Trump.
The Chief Justice would have presided if the trial was over a sitting president, which he is not
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) January 25, 2021
Leahy’s office would not confirm the reports, instead saying the matter is up to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to decide.
“Leaders have been negotiating all process issues about the trial, and all along we have deferred to them for any announcements about this and all other process matters,” an aide told The Hill.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is among various Republicans who have called the upcoming impeachment trial unconstitutional and questioned whether anyone but Roberts should preside over the trial.
“There’s only one constitutional process for impeachment and it is of the president, not a president,” Hawley said. “It requires the chief justice to preside.”
The House approved the article of impeachment on Jan. 13, making Trump the first president to be impeached twice. The article accuses Trump of inciting the attack this month at the U.S. Capitol, primarily with a “Save America” rally near the White House at which he urged supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell.”
On Friday, House and Senate leaders agreed to send the article on Monday, which formally opens the trial process.
On Monday, House impeachment managers will walk over the article against Trump to the Senate chamber. The move begins a series of traditional and symbolic steps to get to the trial in earnest.
The managers are expected to deliver the article at about 7 p.m. EST.
The UPI contributed to this report.