Wednesday, October 16, 2019

McConnell eyes quick impeachment trial in Senate


The Senate majority leader told Republicans he hoped to wrap up any impeachment trial for Trump by the end of the year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images


By BURGESS EVERETT
10/16/2019 
03:07 PM EDT
Updated: 10/16/2019 
03:39 PM EDT

Senate Republicans are preparing for a speedy impeachment trial that concludes before the end of the year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Senate Republicans on Wednesday that he expects Speaker Nancy Pelosi to approve articles of impeachment as early as Thanksgiving, according to five people familiar with Wednesday’s party lunch. McConnell then surmised that the Senate could deal with the trial by Christmas, concluding the impeachment proceedings before the Democratic presidential primaries begin.

While they said there’s no deal between Pelosi and McConnell, Republican senators believe it’s in both parties’ interest to move quickly.

“He thinks Democrats are of the same mind: let’s not drag this out for five weeks,” said one attendee of the lunch.

McConnell’s comments and PowerPoint presentation on Wednesday were in part an acknowledgment that impeachment is exceedingly likely to come to the Senate, and much of the discussion centered on the ins and outs of Senate procedure.

McConnell told senators they would be unable to speak during the trial and that only the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the president’s defenders and the House managers could talk, said one person familiar with the meeting.

A spokesman for McConnell did not respond to an immediate request for comment.

Senators who were in Congress during the last impeachment trial in 1999 spoke about how they handled the effort to oust President Bill Clinton from office.

At the lunch Wednesday, Republicans asked how they can force a vote to dismiss the trial and whether it’s possible to work on legislation in the mornings amid the strict impeachment rules that require trial proceedings six afternoons a week once the Senate takes up the matter, according to the sources.

McConnell also reminded senators of the power of Chief Justice John Roberts to make motions during the trial.

Answers to some of senators' questions will depend in part on what agreements McConnell can work out with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the rules of impeachment and whether the Senate can multi-task during the affair. Multiple Republicans expressed interest at the lunch in trying to legislate during the impeachment trial.

Schumer said he’d had “zero” discussions with McConnell about the matter.“I'm not urging him to do it immediately,” Schumer told reporters on Wednesday, calling for “a fair and bipartisan way and I hope that
Leader McConnell would obey those strictures."


Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.



:Mitch McConnell,Nancy Pelosi,News on Trump,Impeachment

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