EXPLAINER: What’s ahead as Trump impeachment trial begins

In this Jan. 26, 2021, image from video, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the president pro tempore of the Senate, who is presiding over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (Senate Television via AP)
In this Jan. 26, 2021, image from video, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the president pro tempore of the Senate, who is presiding over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (Senate Television via AP) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial will force the Senate to decide whether to convict him of incitement of insurrection after a violent mob of his supporters laid siege to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

While Trump’s acquittal is expected, Democrats hope to gain at least some Senate Republican votes by linking Trump's actions to a vivid description of the violence, which resulted in five deaths and sent lawmakers fleeing for safety. The House impeached Trump on Jan. 13, one week later.

Trump's lawyers say the trial should not be held at all because the former president is now a private citizen. They argue that he did not incite the violence when he told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat.

A look at the basics of the impeachment trial:

HOW DOES THE TRIAL WORK?

As laid out by the Constitution, the House votes to impeach and the Senate then holds a trial on the charge or charges. Two thirds of senators present can convict.

The House appointed nine impeachment managers who will present the case against Trump on the Senate floor. Trump's defense team will have equal time to argue against conviction.

The chief justice of the United States normally presides over the trial of a president, but because Trump has left office, the presiding officer will be Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who is the ceremonial head of the Senate as the longest-serving member of the majority party.