UPDATE: U.S. House to send Trump impeachment articles to Senate

United States Capitol, Washington, DC. © Can Stock Photo / pazham

The third impeachment trial in history for a U.S. president may begin as soon as next week.

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday afternoon to formally send the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was then due to transfer the items to the Senate, according to ABC News.

Next, the Senate will begin preparations for the trial, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said could start as soon as next Tuesday.

The Democratic-controlled chamber also chose seven Congressman to act as “managers” and present the case against the President, including Congressman Adam Schiff, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee during the impeachment hearings.

The White House has not yet disclosed if they will approach Republican House members to act as managers when Trump presents his defence.

John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, will preside over the trial, as indicated by the U.S. Constitution. Both sides will be able to present their cases in the matter of a trial, and the Senate members act as the jury. A two-thirds majority is required to convict Trump and remove him from office.

The House impeached Trump for obstruction of justice and abuse of power. He is accused of withholding military aid from Ukraine in exchange for that country beginning an investigation into former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son, concerning the younger Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine. Biden is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, and if he wins the nomination, he will face Trump in the general election this November.

There is no evidence Biden or his son committed wrongdoing, and neither has been charged with a crime.

Trump is also accused of ordering members of his administration not to comply with duly-issued subpoenas during the impeachment inquiry.

The U.S. president has denied doing anything unconstitutional or illegal. His supporters have dismissed the impeachment process as a case of sour grapes and personal dislike of Trump since his 2016 election victory.

Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the previous two presidents who have been impeached. Johnson was acquitted in 1868 for violating the Tenure of Office Act. Clinton was found not guilty in 1999 for lying to a grand jury about an extramarital affair with a White House intern.

Articles of impeachment were drawn up against Richard Nixon in 1974 for his handling of the Watergate scandal and its cover-up, but Nixon resigned before the full House could vote.