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McConnell Blocks Quick Senate Impeachment Trial
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a quick Senate impeachment trial Wednesday, but did not rule out that he might eventually consider voting to convict President Trump.

McConnell issued a statement saying Congress and the government should spend the next week “completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power” to Biden. He suggested Trump's Senate trial would begin no earlier than Jan. 19 — in effect rejecting a drive by the chamber's Democrats to begin the proceedings immediately so Trump could be ousted from office.

“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote.

McConnell will be Washington’s most powerful Republican once Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, and McConnell’s increasingly chilly view of Trump could make it easier for other GOP lawmakers to turn against him.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that unless McConnell reverses himself and agrees to quickly start the trial, it would begin after Jan. 19. That's a day before Biden is inaugurated as president and about the time Democrats take over majority control of the Senate. The timetable essentially means McConnell is dropping the trial into Democrats' laps.

“Make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate," Schumer said. He added, “If the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again."

The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to convict a president, meaning at least 17 Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats to oust Trump. If Trump were convicted, it would take only a simple majority of the Senate to prohibit Trump, who's mentioned running again in 2024, from holding federal office again.

The Democratic-led House approved an impeachment article accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, an unprecedented second impeachment of his clamorous presidency. 

McConnell is looking out for his party’s long-term future, but any move toward a political divorce from Trump could mean that congressional Republicans will face challenges in GOP primaries.

 

 


Published 06:02 PM, Wednesday Jan. 13, 2021
Updated 07:36 AM, Thursday Jan. 14, 2021

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