- The Washington Times
Monday, January 13, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday welcomed the end of the standoff with the House over President Trump’s impeachment trial, saying his chamber stood ready to do its duty.

The trial will likely begin after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the Senate trial would not devolve into the type of partisan exercise witnessed in the House, where Democrats impeached Mr. Trump in a party-line vote that was the first impeachment of a president without bipartisan support.

“The Senate will not be sucked into this precedent-breaking path. We will fulfill our constitutional duty,” he said. “We will honor the reason for which the founders created this body to ensure our institutions and our republic can rise above short-term, factional fever. The House has done enough damage. The Senate is ready to fulfill our duty.”

His comments come ahead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s scheduled meeting Tuesday with House Democrats to decide when to transmit the two articles of impeachment to the upper chamber, where the trial is to be held according to the Constitution.

Mrs. Pelosi, in an unprecedented move, has held on to the charges after House Democrats voted to impeach the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Dec. 18, saying she wants assurances the Republican-controlled Senate will hold a fair trial.

The impeachment stemmed from a July phone call with the Ukrainian president during which Mr. Trump requested a probe into a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Democrats during pretrial negotiations demanded more witness testimony be guaranteed in the upper chamber’s hearing.

Mr. McConnell and his Republican colleagues have said they will handle the impeachment trial the same way the chamber did in 1999 for President Clinton. During that process, the House impeachment managers presented their case for impeachment and the president’s legal team responded before the issue of witnesses was debated.

“It’s certainly been revealing to see House Democrats first claim impeachment was so urgent they could not even wait to fill out the factual record and then subsequently delay it for weeks. Well, I’m glad the speaker finally realized she never had any leverage in the first place to dictate Senate procedure to the Senate,” Mr. McConnell said, adding he welcomes the end to the “one-woman blockade” over the articles being transmitted.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said Sunday that her standoff produced results, noting the public is behind hearing from more witnesses.

She suggested it was a win for Democrats when Mr. Trump’s former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton recently said he would be willing to testify in the Senate trial if subpoenaed. Mr. Bolton had refused to comply with the House inquiry last year.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released Monday supports Mrs. Pelosi’s analysis, with 66% of respondents saying they think Mr. Bolton should testify in the Senate impeachment proceedings.

“Now, the ball is in their court to either do that or pay the price,” she told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

Though the timing for formal transmission is fluid, The Washington Times learned the upcoming House resolution will include not only the articles but also the name of the impeachment managers, allocation of funds and a compilation of the House’s evidence.

One of the biggest questions is how many impeachment managers Mrs. Pelosi will select to argue the case in the Senate. In 1999, the House sent 13 representatives to prosecute the case against Mr. Clinton.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Mr. McConnell should note that other impeachment trials have had witnesses.

“Without these things, a Senate trial would become a farce,” said Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat.


Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.