McConnell Says Senate Impeachment Trial Will Start Next Tuesday

January 14, 2020 by Dan McCue
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaking at the Republican Senate Caucus press conference in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 7, 2020. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday that the Senate will begin taking a series of steps this week so that President Trump’s impeachment trial can start immediately after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, McConnell said once the House sends the articles of impeachment over to the Senate on Wednesday, his members will begin debating an organizing resolution to set the parameters of the trial.

Chief Justice John Roberts will also appear in the Senate chamber later this week to swear in Senators as jurors, the majority leader said.

The House is set to vote Wednesday to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, a move announced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi after meeting privately with House Democrats Tuesday morning.

“The president and the senators will be held accountable,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial.”

McConnell said while some of the groundwork for the trial will be completed by Friday, much will extend into early next week, including the actual vote on the organizing resolution.

The resolution will set forth time limits for the House impeachment managers and the president’s defense team to make their opening arguments, and include guidelines for senators to ask questions.

Once the resolution passes, the Senate will notify the president’s defense team to appear and give the White House several days to respond.

As he has in the past, McConnell said Tuesday that he wants to follow the precedent set by the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial.

That means the question of whether or not to call witnesses will not be addressed until after opening arguments are made.

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