WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday the Senate should begin the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to shape the process a “fantasy.”
“Their turn is over. They’ve done enough damage. It’s the Senate’s turn now to render sober judgment,” McConnell said from the Senate floor, in reference to Pelosi’s delay in sending the two articles of impeachment adopted by the House last month.
Sen. McConnell: "This fantasy that the speaker of the House will get to hand design the trial proceedings in the Senate, that's obviously a non-starter." pic.twitter.com/MDi39m3bZ5
— The Hill (@thehill) January 3, 2020
Pelosi’s withholding of the articles is the key element of Democrats’ plan to ensure the impeachment trial proceeds on favorable terms.
“We should address mid-trial questions such as witnesses after briefs, opening arguments, senator questions and other relevant motions,” McConnell added.
“This fantasy that the speaker of the House will get to hand design the trial proceedings in the Senate, that’s obviously a non-starter,” McConnell said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took the floor moments after McConnell spoke, and expressed concerns that Republicans would hold a “mock trial.”
“Will we fulfill our duty to conduct a fair impeachment trial of the president of the United States or will we not? That is most pressing question facing this Senate,” Schumer said. “The country just saw McConnell’s answer to that question. The answer is no.”
McConnell, a Republican, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have been at loggerheads since late last year over how Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate should be conducted. No date has been set for the opening of the trial.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot. Pluralist contributed to this report.)
- Sen Mitch McConnell.: Screen grab