Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNBC in an interview Monday that existing Senate rules would compel him pursue an impeachment trial if the House passed articles of impeachment against President Trump.
“Under the Senate rules, we’re required to take it up if the House does go down that path, and we’ll follow the Senate rules,” McConnell said. “… how long you are on it is a different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up based on a Senate rule on impeachment.”
McConnell’s comments ended speculation that the Kentucky Senator might change Senate rules to block impeachment proceedings in the upper chamber, as a number of critics — citing his efforts to halt Obama-appointee Merrick Garland’s confirmation to the Supreme Court — have suggested.
The majority leader said Monday that he would require 67 votes in order to change the rule requiring that he launch an impeachment trial in the event that articles of impeachment are passed in the House. He first confirmed that he was bound by such a rule during a March interview with NPR.
Republican leadership has already clarified to Senate Republicans that a trial is a certainty if the House passes impeachment, according to HuffPost.
The House needs a minimum of 218 votes to impeach Trump by simple majority and 225 Democrats, as well as former Republican Representative Justin Amash, have already pledged to support impeachment proceedings.