Donald Trump Impeachment Trial: The when, who, and how to watch

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2020, image from video, presiding officer Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. No cell phones. No talking. No escape. One-hundred U.S. senators will soon be stationed at wooden desks, under the threat of imprisonment, as they silently listen to the arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. While senators groan about the restrictions _ and will likely violate them at times _ they say the long-standing rules are crucial as they execute their most solemn duty: considering whether to remove the president of the United States. (Senate Television via AP, File)

Donald Trump‘s impeachment trial begins today. The first part of the trial will deal with rules for the rest of the trial. Senate moderates have made the outcome of setting these rules less predictable, as we are still not sure if the trial will hear from outside witnesses or not. 

Some impeachment rules have been in place since 1868, which deal with conduct during the trial. Each day, Senators will take an oath that, “all persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment.” This oath means all Senators will have to give up their cell phones, sit quietly, and observe the trial proceedings. This scene will be in stark contrast to most days, where Senators are glued to their phones. 

There has been much debate about exactly how the trial will proceed, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposing a swift trial with long days. The final rules will be set by a simple majority of Senators.  

Republican Senator Richard Shelby, as reported by, commented on impeachment by expressing doubt about Democratic accusations, but stopped short of saying what he thinks the outcome of the trial should be, saying, “I still think we should wait and see what comes out in the trial itself.”

Democratic Senator Doug Jones, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, has said that he will separate his job as a juror in the impeachment trial from that of a Senator trying to preserve his seat, which he is in jeopardy of losing in this November’s elections. Jones said, “I don’t think all of my colleagues will look at it this way, but from my perspective, I’m separating the two.”

When: The trial is scheduled to begin at about noon central time.

Who: The trial judge will be, my constitutional mandate, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts. The trial will be prosecuted by impeachment managers selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Donald Trump’s dense team will follow with response and questioning.

How to watch: The trial will likely be covered in depth by all the major networks, such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. C-SPAN, as in all cases of hearings and Congressional meetings, will have non-stop video coverage of the trial. You may stream the trial from C-SPAN’s website.