January 30, 2020 / 11:55 AM / 23 days ago

Trump impeachment: What happens next?

(Reuters) - U.S. Senators on Wednesday spent the day posing questions to both the Democratic lawmakers prosecuting the impeachment case against President Donald Trump and the lawyers defending him.

Here is what to look out for next:

THURSDAY

* When the Senate’s impeachment trial resumes at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT), the 100 senators will get a further chance to pose questions to both the House Democratic impeachment managers and Trump’s defence team.

* A total of 16 hours had been allotted for questioning over two days, but it is not clear if all the time will be used.

* Senators will not ask questions directly but will submit them to U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial. Roberts will then read the questions aloud.

* Questions can be directed at the prosecution or the defence, but not at other senators.

BEYOND THE QUESTION PERIOD

* At the end of the question period, the impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers will have four hours, equally divided, to present arguments. These arguments are not expected until Friday, although they could begin on Thursday if all the time allotted for questions is not used.

* The Senate will then debate whether to subpoena witnesses and documents, followed by a vote, which is expected on Friday. In the event of a tie vote, the motion fails.

* If the Senate votes to hear more evidence, it would then hold subsequent votes on which witnesses senators would like to call and what documents they want to read.

* If the Senate subpoenas witnesses, they would be deposed privately before the Senate decides on public testimony.

* If no witnesses or additional documents are subpoenaed, senators could consider other motions or proceed to vote on each article of impeachment.

* If the Senate does not decide to issue subpoenas, the trial likely would conclude this week, possibly on Friday. If it does issue subpoenas, it could still be going on when Trump delivers the annual State of the Union address to Congress on Feb. 4.

Reporting by David Morgan, Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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