Jan 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats call on Schumer for speedy Trump impeachment trial

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats are in a dilemma of their own making, and now they want incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to wrap up President Trump's impeachment trial as fast as possible, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: The party wanted to hold the president accountable for helping incite last week's Capitol attack but the actual mechanism for doing so — a Senate trial — is a balky tool that will inhibit President-elect Joe Biden from launching his effort to heal the country and its economy.

What we’re hearing: The general view among Senate Democrats and Biden officials is that it’s in both parties’ interest not to have a drawn-out trial. They hope Republicans agree.

  • Democrats, who will soon control the White House, Senate and House, want to get back to legislating and focus on Biden's plans — like the massive COVID-19 rescue package he introduced Thursday night.
  • Republicans, they bet, don’t want to spend weeks litigating the attack, or draw more attention to their attempts to overturn the election results that helped fuel the riot.

But, but, but: It’s hard to streamline an archaic impeachment trial.

  • Even if both sides miraculously agree to doing away with trial documents and witnesses — since some argue every member of Congress was a witness to the Capitol siege — each side's outliers can consume hours for opening arguments, questions, debate and closing arguments.

The bottom line: Many Senate Democrats don’t want to waste any more precious time on Trump, especially when an impeachment trial — his second — is unlikely to yield a conviction if incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't want that result.

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