Jan 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

McConnell proposes February impeachment trial

Mitch McConnell
Sen. Mitch McConnell Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is proposing that the impeachment trial of former President Trump begin in mid-February to allow for due process.

Why it matters: The impeachment trial is likely to grind other Senate business to a halt, including the confirmation process for President Biden's Cabinet nominees.

  • The House voted to impeach Trump on Jan. 13 for “incitement of insurrection" after a violent mob of his supporters breached the U.S. Capitol.

What he's proposing:

  • Jan. 28: House managers exhibit the article of impeachment to the Senate.
  • Feb. 4: Deadline for Trump to answer the article of impeachment; deadline for House managers to submit their pre-trial brief.
  • Feb. 11: Deadline for Trump to submit his pre-trial brief.
  • Feb. 13: Deadline for House managers to submit pre-trial rebuttal.

What he's saying: “Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake," McConnell said in a statement Thursday.

  • "Given the unprecedented speed of the House’s process, our proposed timeline for the initial phases includes a modest and reasonable amount of additional time for both sides to assemble their arguments before the Senate would begin to hear them," he added.

Between the lines: McConnell, now in the minority, does not have final say on the impeachment trial's schedule.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “We received Leader McConnell’s proposal that only deals with pre-trial motions late this afternoon. We will review it and discuss it with him.”

The state of play: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not indicated when she plans to transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate, but many Democrats are hopeful for a speedy trial so they can get back to legislating and focus on Biden's plans.

  • Senators are currently scheduled to work from their home states the week of Feb. 15.
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