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The U.S. Senate has opened the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, with the two articles of impeachment being read aloud on the floor of the upper chamber.

The reading of the charges set the stage for a historical trial that is taking place for the third time in U.S. history.

“In his conduct, and in violation of his constitutional oath…Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the presidency,” said Representative Adam Schiff (California-Democrat), who leads the team of seven trial managers from the House of Representatives who will act as prosecutors during litigation.

Later in the afternoon, the Senate will call Chief Justice John Roberts to be sworn in as the trial’s presiding judge. He, in turn, will swear in all 100 senators to act as jurors.

The House last month impeached Trump for abuse of office and obstruction of Congress in his dealings with Ukraine.

Trump denies the charges and has called the impeachment proceedings a “sham,” “hoax,” and a “witch hunt.”

The president’s fellow Republicans control the Senate and are likely to acquit Trump of wrongdoing.

The actual proceedings of the trial are scheduled to start on January 21.

Based on reporting by C-SPAN, AFP, and AP