Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected plans to reconvene the Senate in an emergency impeachment session. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump by a vote of 232-197.
The House sent the article of impeachment, which charges Trump with “incitement of insurrection.” to the Senate. It requires the Senators to start a trial to determine the President’s culpability. If convicted, Trump faces a permanent ban from running for federal office.
There is Simply No Chance
McConnell issued a statement Wednesday shooting down the proposal. “Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell said.
“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office,” McConnell continued. “This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact.”
What’s the Rush?
However, the Senate is currently in recess and will return to session on January 19. In order to complete the trial while the President is still in office, McConnell needs an emergency impeachment session. McConnell’s press secretary Doug Andres confirmed that the Senate Majority Leader will not approve a session.
Instead, the trial will happen on January 19 at the earliest, when the Senate resumes its session. It also means that the trial won’t likely finish when President-elect Joe Biden moves into the White House. With the Senate sticking to their schedule, some Democrats propose holding the impeachment trial even after Trump steps down.
The catch is, once Trump’s term ends on January 20, Congress loses its constitutional authority to continue impeachment proceedings, even if the House already did their part. Meanwhile, former US Court of Appeals judge Michael Luttig ridiculed the notion of impeaching a President who already stepped down. Impeaching and removing a president after his term is “unconstitutional.”
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Luttig wrote that “It appears that even if the House of Representatives impeaches President Trump this week, the Senate trial on that impeachment will not begin until after Trump has left office and President-Elect Biden has become president on Jan. 20. That Senate trial would be unconstitutional.” Also, Luttig added “the Senate’s only power under the Constitution is to convict, or not, an incumbent president.
Even Moderates Find this Ill-Advised
Senator Joe Manchin (WV), a moderate Democrat, said that the ongoing impeachment push will not likely gain support in the Senate anyway. He said: “I think, my arithmetic, that means we have 19 Republicans. I don’t see that. And I think the House should know that also. We have been trying to send that message over. They know the votes aren’t there. You would think that they would do that,”
Manchin also said: “I think this is so ill-advised for Joe Biden to be coming in, trying to heal the country, trying to be the president of all the people, when we’re going to be so divided and fighting again. Let the judicial system do its job. And then, we’re a country of the rule of law. That’s the bedrock of who we are. ” Then, he concluded that “there’s no rush to do this impeachment now. We can do it later if they think it’s necessary.”
Schumer Still Wants the Vote
Meanwhile, incoming Democrat majority leader Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) acknowledged the timing of the trial. Should the Senate proceed with the vote and convict Trump, he will ask the Senate to hold another vote to prevent him from running for office again. Schumer said: “A Senate trial can begin immediately, with agreement from the current Senate Majority Leader to reconvene the Senate for an emergency session, or it will begin after January 19th. But make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again.”
Watch the CNN News story where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejects the idea of McConnell rejects demand for witnesses at Senate impeachment trial:
Do you agree with the need for an emergency impeachment session? More importantly, do you see the need for an impeachment trial for President Donald Trump given he’s leaving by January 20? Let us know what you think about impeaching President Donald Trump. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.