Dec 17, 2019

McConnell on Senate impeachment trial: "I'm not an impartial juror"

Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday that he will not act as an "impartial juror" in the likely event of a Senate trial, stating: "This is a political process."

Why it matters: Senators must take the following oath before being sworn in for an impeachment trial: "I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be,) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [name of person being impeached], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: so help me God."

  • A number of Republican senators have cited the impartiality requirement to ward off questions on impeachment, but McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have been open about their intentions to acquit Trump as fast as possible.

Between the lines: McConnell has been working in close coordination with the White House over impeachment.

  • McConnell is expected to limit a Senate trial to roughly two weeks, in a plan agreed to by Trump, and he is refusing to call new witnesses requested by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  • In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell said it's the House's job to investigate: "If they fail, they fail. It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to guilty. That would hardly be impartial justice."

Go deeper: Inside the McConnell-Trump impeachment trial playbook

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McConnell rejects Schumer's call for new witnesses in Senate trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) call to have four White House witnesses testify in the Senate's likely impeachment trial, arguing that it's the House's "duty to investigate" and that the Senate will not volunteer its time for a "fishing expedition."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 17, 2019

Sen. Roy Blunt: Impeachment trial is "not a trial in any classic sense"

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the upcoming Senate impeachment trial is "not a trial in any classic sense," noting that there are senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination and that every member has "obvious" political considerations.

Go deeperArrowDec 22, 2019

Collins says it's "inappropriate" for McConnell, Warren to "prejudge" impeachment trial

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told Maine Public Radio Tuesday that it was "inappropriate" for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to "prejudge the evidence" in President Trump's forthcoming Senate impeachment trial.

What she's saying: "[E]ach of us will take an oath — an oath that I take very seriously to render impartial justice. ... There are senators on both sides of the aisle, who, to me, are not giving the appearance of and the reality of judging that's in an impartial way."

Go deeperArrowDec 31, 2019