John G. Roberts Jr., chief justice of the US Supreme Court, was sworn in as a prelude to chairing the court session that will take over the trial of US President Donald Trump before the Senate on charges of misusing his powers to achieve a personal interest in pressing the government of Ukraine to investigate the son of his potential rival in the upcoming US presidential election Joe Biden is obstructing the course of justice.
Media reported that 99 members of the Senate were also sworn in before the official Trump session began, which will begin at 1 pm next Tuesday (EST).
The American Network indicated that only one member of the Senate, Republican Senator James Inhofe, was absent from the swearing-in session.
Trump has ridiculed the impeachment process for months, and he responded to the opening of the trial by once more branding it a “hoax.”
“I think it should go very quickly”, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
“It’s totally partisan,” Trump said. “I’ve got to go through a hoax, a phony hoax put out by the Democrats, so they can try to win an election”.
The Democratic-controlled House, in an overwhelmingly partisan vote, impeached Trump on December 18 over his dealings with Ukraine and subsequent efforts to obstruct the investigation into the affair.
Impeachment rules require a two-thirds Senate majority to convict and remove a president, and Trump’s acquittal is widely expected in the Republican-dominated Senate.
Justice Roberts, 64, was appointed to the nation’s top court by president George W. Bush, and will preside over the duration of the trial, which is expected to last two weeks.
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office concluded in a report released Thursday that the White House violated federal law by putting a hold on the congressionally-approved funds for Ukraine.