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Getty Images House Clerk Cheryl Johnson and Acting House Sergeant at Arms Tim Blodgett lead the House managers procession to deliver the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump from the House to the Senate
The House of Representatives has delivered Donald Trump's latest impeachment charge to the Senate, ceremoniously kicking off the former president's unprecedented second trial.
The House's impeachment managers made a somber procession Monday evening, walking through the National Statuary Hall and the Capitol Rotunda to formally deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate.
Arguments in Trump's trial will begin on February 8, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last week. No president has ever been convicted of an impeachment charge in the Senate — including Trump, 74, his first time around.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a longtime critic of the former president, had called Monday a "momentous and solemn day" for the United States, in a statement last week.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images Capitol Police officers stand in a doorway to the Rotunda before the Impeachment Managers from the House of Representatives deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate
Pelosi, 80, said House members would "sadly" deliver the article of impeachment, which charges Trump with "incitement of insurrection" in relation to his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building.
Pelosi said the House's impeachment managers, who will be making the case to convict Trump during the Senate trial, include: Reps. Jamie Raskin, Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Ted Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Madeleine Dean, and Joe Neguse.
On Monday, President Joe Biden told CNN that he thinks the trial "has to happen."
Biden, 78, has previously said that he hopes the impeachment trial does not have a negative impact on other things on his agenda, like the coronavirus and the economy. He added to CNN Monday, however, that there would be "a worse effect if it [the impeachment trial] didn't happen."
Getty Images Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson (R) along with House Sergeant-at-Arms Tim Blodgett (2R) lead the Democratic House impeachment managers as they walk through Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill to deliver to the Senate the article of impeachment alleging incitement of insurrection against former President Donald Trump
"The Senate has changed since I was there, but it hasn't changed that much," he added, reportedly telling CNN that he does not think enough Republican senators will vote to convict his predecessor.
Trump is the first president to be impeached twice. The one-term president was acquitted last February on two charges related to the Ukraine scandal. Only one GOP senator — Sen. Mitt Romney — had voted in favor of convicting Trump last year on his two previous charges.
Getty Images The Impeachment Managers from the House of Representatives proceed through the Rotunda to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate
However, more Republicans have voiced support for convicting Trump on his most recent charge.
Earlier this month, 10 House Republican members voted in favor of impeaching Trump — the most impeachment votes a president has ever received from his own political party.
Monday's ritual of marching the impeachment charge from one legislative chamber to the next was a rare procedure. It was just the fourth time in U.S. history the symbolic walk has taken place.
Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were the only two presidents prior to Trump to have been impeached. (President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached and face trial over the Watergate scandal.)
Trump's second impeachment is also unprecedented in that it's the first time a president's Senate trial will occur after they've left office.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Donald Trump
Shortly before pro-Trump rioters violently descended on the Capitol building, with members of the House and Senate gathered for a joint session inside, the former president told his supporters to "fight like hell" and encouraged them to head to the building.
There, lawmakers were cementing the results of the 2020 election, in which U.S. voters chose Biden to replace Trump, who refused to concede the race throughout the transition period. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died in connection with the riot.
The chances appear slim that Trump will become the first president ever convicted on an impeachment charge, as two-thirds of the Senate would need to vote in favor of that decision.
The Associated Press reported Monday that a growing number of Republicans have started to speak out against the trial, which comes after Trump has left office and amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"I think the trial is stupid, I think it's counterproductive," Sen. Marco Rubio, a longtime Trump ally, said, citing a belief some GOP lawmakers share that an impeachment trial could inflame political tensions in the country.
However, some Republicans, such as Romney, have voiced support for the trial.
"I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense," Romney told CNN. "If not, what is?"