Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has created a “kill switch” for the upcoming Senate impeachment trial to allow President Donald Trump’s legal team to move immediately to dismiss the charges, according to a Republican senator.
McConnell is preparing an organizing resolution for the trial that includes the option, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, told Axios’ Jonathan Swan on Saturday
“I am familiar with the resolution as it stood a day or two ago,” Hawley said. “My understanding is that the resolution will give the president’s team the option to either move to judgment or to move to dismiss at a meaningful time …”
Hawley said he would be “very, very surprised” if a version of the kill switch were not included in the final resolution. He said he might not vote for the resolution without such a clause for fear Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and a lead impeachment manager, would have too much control over the trial.
On Sunday, Hawley tweeted a link to the Axios report, saying, “[Donald Trump] deserves the right during Senate trial to ask for a verdict to move to dismiss – otherwise the trial will become an endless circus run by Adam Schiff.”
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 19, 2020
Trump has recently called for the articles of impeachment to be dismissed without a trial. But Republican Senate leaders have said members are not interested in a vote to dismiss, at least not at the outset.
“Our members generally are not interested in a motion to dismiss,” Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican told The New York Times last week. “They think both sides need to be heard. They believe the president needs to be heard for the first time in a fair setting.”
A source close to McConnell told Breitbart News on Sunday: “My pal Cocaine Mitch is again proving his mettle when it comes to outmaneuvering leftist Democrats with this kill switch. If they even think about stepping out of line and being unfair in the slightest, it’s time to engage said kill switch and end this nonsense once and for all.”
The impeachment trial will start Thursday after John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, swore in senators last Thursday.
The House’s Democratic majority in December impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The articles accuse him of pressuring Ukraine to open investigations against his political rivals, including by withholding military aid, and of impeding Congress’s investigation by preventing witnesses from testifying and defying subpoenas.
The Republican-controlled Senate is widely expected to acquit the president.