After pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol during the joint session certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election, House Democrats filed an article of impeachment against outgoing President Donald Trump, whose repeated lies that the election was "stolen" motivated the band of insurrectionists.
In the weeks leading up to the long-awaited joint session, Trump urged his supporters to descend upon Washington, D.C. for a "Save America" rally. After the congressional proceedings were underway, Trump addressed his supporters at the rally, repeating the lie that widespread election fraud coordinated by Democrats delivered a false victory to Biden.
Trump told attendees to "fight" for him and warned that if the certification was allowed, they wouldn't "have a country" anymore. He told them to walk over to the Capitol and make their grievances known.
Shortly after, the pro-Trump extremists infiltrated the Capitol, bringing the joint session to a halt as Vice President Mike Pence and other lawmakers were forced to evacuate.
The insurrectionists shattered windows, ransacked offices, debased the Senate floor, smeared excrement across the walls, and killed at least one police officer. At least five people died as a result of the riots.
While the House will almost certainly vote to impeach Trump a second time on Wednesday—the first occasion in history that a sitting President has been impeached more than once—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said there is no way for the Senate to hold an impeachment trial before January 20th—Inauguration Day. The Senate isn't currently scheduled to reconvene until the 19th of January.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer may have found a way to force the Senate into session even without a Democratic majority using a little-known rule.
The resolution, passed in 2004, allows the Senate's Majority and Minority Leaders to reconvene the legislative body in times of emergency.
According to Washington Post White House reporter Seung Min Kim:
"Both McConnell and Schumer would have to agree to reconvene the Senate, putting pressure back on the outgoing majority leader to confront Trump as the House heads toward an impeachment vote this week for the president's role in inciting the violent siege on the Capitol on Jan. 6."
McConnell is known for his refusals to concede any power to his Democratic colleagues, but the Senate Majority Leader notably broke with Trump and discouraged Republican Senators from backing House GOP objections to the certification of electoral votes. It's unclear if McConnell, in his last days as Senate Majority Leader, would entertain Schumer's invocation of the 2004 rule.
Some are hoping that the urgency of Trump's transgression will set a Senate trial in motion.
Do it. Stop talking about it. https://t.co/2w9tzrjWxt— Josh (@Josh)1610403478.0
Fabulous. Yes, at the end of the day, you do not possess the majority and this could be reasonably expected to fail… https://t.co/sJuTPcgseA— Will Stancil (@Will Stancil)1610403439.0
Even though Schumer has yet to invoke the rule, McConnell is facing pressure.
When Mitch McConnell says 9 days before an inauguration doesn't provide enough time to impeach and remove Trump, re… https://t.co/C7OsseAZmA— Robert Reich (@Robert Reich)1610391581.0
Mitch McConnell is hiding behind procedure. The Senate could come back tomorrow to impeach if he chose to. We are… https://t.co/7kT3PNlfqb— Sean Patrick Maloney (@Sean Patrick Maloney)1610378100.0
Mitch McConnell had time to confirm a Supreme Court Justice 8 days before an election. BUT can’t impeach a seditio… https://t.co/8afSmMzOn3— Kirk Acevedo🇺🇸 (@Kirk Acevedo🇺🇸)1610221511.0
The House should not wait on the implacably wicked @senatemajldr Mitch McConnell (who's going to have to change his… https://t.co/Vs1qAXRRrO— Joy WE VOTED!! WEAR A MASK!! Reid 😷) (@Joy WE VOTED!! WEAR A MASK!! Reid 😷))1610158794.0
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on the article of impeachment.