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McConnell Proposes Delaying Impeachment Trial until February

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks through the Capitol in Washington, D.C., December 16, 2020. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing delaying the second impeachment trial of President Trump until mid-February so that Trump’s defense team and Democratic prosecutors have time to prepare for the case.

McConnell has presented the idea to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who would have to agree to the plan, but has not heard back from him yet.

“Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake,” McConnell said in a statement about the proposed timeline.

“Given the unprecedented speed of the House’s process, our proposed timeline for the initial phases includes a modest and reasonable amount of additional time for both sides to assemble their arguments before the Senate would begin to hear them,” the Kentucky Republican continued.

Under McConnell’s timeline, the House would send the article of impeachment to the Senate on Thursday of next week. Both sides would submit pretrial briefs and responses over the next two weeks, and the trial would begin around February 14.

“We received Leader McConnell’s proposal that only deals with pretrial motions late this afternoon. We will review it and discuss it with him,” said Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Schumer.

The House voted largely along party lines this month to impeach President Trump, making him the only president to be impeached twice. Democrats voted unanimously in favor of impeachment and were joined by ten Republicans. However, the lower chamber has not yet sent the impeachment article over to the Senate.

Trump is charged in the single article of impeachment with ” incitement of insurrection” over his rhetoric before and during the deadly riot at the Capitol last week when Trump supporters broke past security and forced their way into the halls of Congress. The violence on January 6 ended with five dead.

McConnell is said to be pleased about the Democratic efforts to impeach Trump, saying he believes Trump has committed impeachable offenses and that the move will make it easier for Republicans to purge him from the party.

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