Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a call from Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to convene the House in an emergency session to quickly begin the proceedings of impeachment against the president Donald Trumpa spokesman said.
That means a trial for Trump on an article of impeachment, expected to pass by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, is almost certain not to get underway before Trump’s term ends early in the afternoon. January 20.
McConnell has been under increasing pressure to take a public position on impeachment after the storming of the Capitol last week by a crowd of Trump supporters. President-elect Joe Biden has made a personal request to allow the Senate to vote on his cabinet nominees as the trial progresses.
The Senate leader has told associates that he believes Trump engaged in impeachment crimes last week when he incited protesters before they converged on Capitol Hill, two people familiar with the matter said. However, he has stopped short of saying that he would vote to convict him.
If McConnell supported a conviction for Trump, that could have enormous influence among Republicans in the House, which will be led by Democrats later this month once three new Democratic senators are seated and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes office and may vote in the event of a tie in a chamber divided 50 percent between the parties.
So far, no Republicans have said they would condemn Trump, although Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told a local newspaper last week that she wants Trump to step down after his role in last week’s insurgency. Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey has said he believes Trump committed indictable crimes, but he has also not said he would vote to convict him.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote in favor of conviction for one charge during Trump’s impeachment trial in January 2020.
In the House, at least six Republicans have broken ranks and announced they would vote for Trump’s impeachment.
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