What to Watch For in the Impeachment Trial on Saturday

The Senate is expected to plunge into the final hours of impeachment proceedings on Saturday after an exceptionally rapid trial that, if concluded later in the day, will have played out over just five days.

After Democratic House impeachment managers laid out their case earlier in the week, lawyers representing former President Donald J. Trump finished their presentation on Friday in slightly more than three hours, using less than a quarter of the 16 hours available to them.

Mr. Trump’s legal team offered a whirlwind defense, looking to dismiss the case against the former president while repeating a litany of complaints Mr. Trump himself has often made about his Democratic opponents and the news media, many of which were misleading or false.

The prosecution and the defense then fielded 28 questions from senators.

With the bulk of the trial complete, House managers and Mr. Trump’s lawyers will each have up to two hours to make their closing arguments on Saturday. Senators could move to hold an up-or-down vote on whether to convict the former president almost immediately after, though a few procedural surprises are still possible.

The Senate is set to reconvene at 10 a.m.

What surprises might remain?

There is still a remote possibility that House managers could request a debate and vote to call witnesses before closing arguments begin.

On Friday, Mr. Trump’s lawyers repeatedly derided the Democrats’ case as a “snap impeachment,” criticizing lawmakers for not conducting a more complete investigation of what happened on Jan. 6 and Mr. Trump’s actions in the moments before and during the riot.

The Trump Impeachment ›

What You Need to Know

    • A trial is being held to decide whether former President Donald J. Trump is guilty of inciting a deadly mob of his supporters when they stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, violently breaching security measures and sending lawmakers into hiding as they met to certify President Biden’s victory.
    • The House voted 232 to 197 to approve a single article of impeachment, accusing Mr. Trump of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” in his quest to overturn the election results. Ten Republicans joined the Democrats in voting to impeach him.
    • To convict Mr. Trump, the Senate would need a two-thirds majority to be in agreement. This means at least 17 Republican senators would have to vote with Senate Democrats to convict.
    • A conviction seems unlikely. Last month, only five Republicans in the Senate sided with Democrats in beating back a Republican attempt to dismiss the charges because Mr. Trump is no longer in office. Only 27 senators say they are undecided about whether to convict Mr. Trump.
    • If the Senate convicts Mr. Trump, finding him guilty of “inciting violence against the government of the United States,” senators could then vote on whether to bar him from holding future office. That vote would only require a simple majority, and if it came down to party lines, Democrats would prevail with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote.
    • If the Senate does not convict Mr. Trump, the former president could be eligible to run for public office once again. Public opinion surveys show that he remains by far the most popular national figure in the Republican Party.

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