Republicans have at least 51 votes necessary to start the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Jan. 7.
“We have the votes, once the impeachment trial has begun, to pass a resolution essentially the same—very similar—to the 100 to nothing vote in the Clinton trial, which sets up, as you may recall, what could best be described as maybe a phase one,” McConnell told reporters in Washington.
The resolution will include guidelines for the prosecution and defense making arguments, and set aside a period for written questions. Senators arent allowed to speak during an impeachment trial, so questions will be submitted through Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the proceeding.
“At that point, during the Clinton trial, the issue of the appropriateness of calling witnesses was addressed. … That will be addressed at that time, and not before the trial begins,” McConnell said.
McConnell has repeatedly said he wants to follow the precedent set in 1999 during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, a Democrat who faced impeachment from the GOP. Clinton was eventually acquitted and remained in office. A supermajority is required for conviction while acquittal requires a simple majority.
Though the party situation is reversed, McConnell said the 1999 trial was fair to Clinton and a similar trial would be fair to Trump, a Republican.
Republican leadership said the only thing theyre waiting for now is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to send the impeachment articles to them. Pelosi has withheld the articles since the House voted to impeach Trump on Dec. 18, 2019.
“The Senate is waiting to do its job, were just waiting for the House to send the articles,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said at the press conference.
“What youre seeing Speaker Pelosi and Chuck Schumer do is basically play to their base and play political games.”
McConnell said he hopes to receive the articles soon.
Some Democratic Senators also said Pelosi should submit the articles. “I think the time has past. She should send the articles over,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told reporters on Tuesday.
The presser came after Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor that Democrats would try to force the body to vote at the beginning on whether to call witnesses.
Schumer has said the Clinton rules should be changed because the situations are different, had a press conference after McConnell.
“The question looms: Will Senators stand up for a fair trial. A fair trial with witnesses and documents. Right now, the Republican leader and I have very different visions on what it means to conduct a fair trial,” he said at a press conference held shortly after McConnells. “DemocRead More – Source