US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has taken charge of the Senate as it geared up for the historic impeachment trial of President Donald Trump as new details emerged around the Ukraine controversies at the core of charges against him.
With his hand on a Bible, Roberts was sworn in Thursday (16 January) as the temporary Senate President to oversee the trial and soon afterwards he gave the oath office to 99 of the 100 senators, who will act as jurors. One was missing because of a family medical problem.
This will only be the third time that a US President is on trial before the Senate after being impeached by the House of Representatives.
Flanked by fellow prosecutors from the House, Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee Chair who led the impeachment investigations against Trump, formally read the charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power before the Senate.
Typing in all capital letters, Trump tweeted: "I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL."
But he may not have to worry beyond the blemish of impeachment to his name as he can expect to be acquitted of the charges because the Democrats will not be able to muster the two-thirds majority needed to convict him and remove him from office.
The two Presidents before him to be tainted by impeachment - Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 - were acquitted.
The trial will be a television spectacle that could last about a month and the Democrats hope it will convince some of Trump's supporters to turn against him at the polls in November.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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