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Senate takes ceremonial steps to start Donald Trump’s impeachment trial

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In this 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, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Senate Television via AP) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON(This livestream is now over. Click here to read the latest in the impeachment trial.)

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday afternoon will take the ceremonial steps to start the historic impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump.

The Senate will meet and swear-in Senators as jurors starting at 1:15 p.m. A livestream of the event will be placed in this article, but delays are possible. If there is not a livestream available, check back at a later time.

Nine House Democrats delivered the impeachment case against Trump to the Senate on Monday in a ceremonial march in the halls of the U.S. Capitol — the same halls that were stormed by pro-Trump supporters on Jan. 6.

Five people were killed in the deadly siege, including a police officer.

The sole impeachment charge is “incitement of insurrection.”

In a scene reminiscent of just a year ago — Trump is the first president twice impeached — the lead House prosecutor, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, stood before the Senate to read the House resolution charging “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Republican denunciations of Trump have cooled since the Jan. 6 riot. Instead, Republicans are presenting a tangle of legal arguments against the legitimacy of the trial and questioning whether Trump’s repeated demands to overturn Joe Biden’s election really amounted to incitement.

What seemed for some Democrats like an open-and-shut case that played out for the world on live television, as Trump encouraged a rally mob to “fight like hell” for his presidency, is running into a Republican Party that feels very different. Not only are there legal concerns, but senators are wary of crossing the former president and his legions of followers — who are their voters. Security remains tight at the Capitol.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, asked if Congress starts holding impeachment trials of former officials, what's next: “Could we go back and try President Obama?”

Besides, he suggested, Trump has already been held to account. “One way in our system you get punished is losing an election.”

Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8, and the case against Trump, the first former president to face an impeachment trial, will test a political party still sorting itself out for the post-Trump era.

Biden himself told CNN late Monday that the impeachment trial “has to happen.” While acknowledging the effect it could have on his agenda, he said there would be “a worse effect if it didn’t happen.”

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