Former President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial on the single charge that he incited an insurrection on January 6 at the US Capitol begins Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. and is likely to consume Washington for a little over a week.

Trump's first impeachment trial, in which he was acquitted on charges that he abused power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate now-President Joe Biden, lasted nearly three weeks.


Round Two is expected to be shorter because the case is less complex and much of the evidence that the House managers plan to present is already out in the open. The House has already impeached Trump. At the Senate trial, two thirds of Senators present are required to convict.

Here's how the Senate trial is expected to play out: 

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, the Senate convenes as a "Court of Impeachment". Trump's legal team and House impeachment managers will have a total of four hours to make their case about the constitutionality of the trial. The Senate will then vote on whether it has jurisdiction to hold the trial. A simple majority is required.

The Chief Justice of the United States normally presides over the trial of a President, but because Trump is no longer a sitting President, the longest longest-serving member of the majority - Democratic Senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy - will preside.

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Next, around noon during the next session, each side gets its maximum of 16 hours over a 2 day limit to present its case. There's an eight hour cap per day which means this process could close out the week.

Once both sides have maxed out their 16 hours, senators have a total of four hours to question both sides. Next comes the decision on whether to subpoena witnesses and documents - a total of four hours is allotted for arguments. In case the Senate votes for subpoenas, rules around those depositions will be passed separately. This time, Democrats believe they will not need witnesses and that the grisly images of the insurrection that played out on live television will be enough. Also, lawmakers present in the building during the January 6 attack are witnesses, they will claim.

Both sides share four hours to make closing arguments before each Senator gets up and votes on a single article of impeachment: guilty or not guilty.