For only the third time in US history, the Senate is preparing to open an impeachment trial against the president, who stands accused of abusing the powers of his office and obstructing a congressional investigation of his deeds.
Prosecutors from the House of Representatives, known as “managers”, are expected to arrive to the Senate at midday local time (5pm GMT) to formally exhibit the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, approved last month by the House.
At 2pm, US supreme court chief justice John Roberts is scheduled to join the proceedings and be sworn in for his presiding role at the trial. He then will swear in the 100 senators – 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents – as jurors.
A two-thirds majority of voting senators would be required to convict Trump and remove him from office, but he appears to be extremely well insulated against that possibility by Republican loyalists.
Despite his declaration last month that he could not be an “impartial juror” in the case, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell vowed on Wednesday night that each senator would weigh the case against Trump with care.