Mitch McConnell Is Prepared to Push Impeachment Trial Rules Forward Without Democrats

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) takes an escalator after a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) at the U.S. Capitol.
Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

In what continues to be an impeachment trial tug of war over whether witnesses would be allowed to testify, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might’ve drummed up enough support to pass his version of rules that would halt Democrats’ push to call for new evidence and witnesses until after the trial begins.

According to Politico, no final decision has been made but McConnell’s impeachment trial rules would mirror those used during President Clinton’s impeachment trial.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi has withheld the articles of impeachment to push for a fair trial. This came after the House voted to charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, oh, and after McConnell noted that he planned to work lockstep with the White House during the Senate trial.

Politico notes that if McConnell gets his wish, witnesses and documents wouldn’t be allowed until after opening arguments are made.

“We are taking the temperature of our members to see where they are but I’m hoping our members will be prepared to move forward along the lines of the Clinton rules which is what we think makes sense,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said on Tuesday. “What we’re aspiring to do is to get this process moving forward and indicate to the Democrats that as soon as they send those articles over here, we’re ready to go.”

The political news site adds that McConnell would need a “bare majority to ignore Democratic demands to subpoena witnesses and documents and instead kick that decision until later in the trial.”

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Because Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is under the assumption that this is a trial, and witnesses and evidence matters, he’s been trying to force McConnell to allow for new emails that have been released showing the president’s involvement in the Ukraine scandal to be included in the goddamn trial.

Not to mention that Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton noted on Monday that he’s ready to testify if subpoenaed. Politico notes that if Dems lose this fight, they can still try and shape the trial by forcing votes on the structure of the proceedings, “which they believe will put vulnerable Republicans in a bind.”

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Pelosi could deliver articles as early as this week, but then again she could put them in a bottle and throw them in the Anacostia River.

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About the author

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.