U.S. Senate in Stalemate Over How to Proceed With Trump Impeachment Trial

The U.S. Senate remained at a stalemate on Friday over how to proceed with the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, as the chamber’s leaders wrangled over whether White House aides will be called as witnesses and the top Democrat appealed to a handful of Republicans who could help break the impasse.

After a two-week holiday recess, there was still no clarity about when Trump’s impeachment trial might begin.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said that in any case the trial could not start without the articles of impeachment, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet sent to the Senate.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted in December to impeach Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival in the 2020 presidential election.

A trial would be held in the Senate, and Trump is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled chamber. But McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have been at loggerheads since late last year over how it should be conducted.

McConnell said on Friday that once the Senate receives the articles of impeachment from the House, it could start the trial and resolve the dispute over witnesses “mid-trial.” He said this would follow the precedent set in former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial two decades ago. Clinton, a Democrat, was acquitted by the Senate.

“Just like 20 years ago,” McConnell said, “We should address mid-trial questions such as witnesses after briefs, opening arguments, senator questions and other relevant motions.”

SETTING ‘A TRAP’

Schumer, speaking after McConnell, said the majority leader was trying to set a trap by waiting to consider witnesses until after opening presentations.

By that time, Schumer said, McConnell would want to wrap things up and would accuse Democrats of wanting to “drag the whole affair out” by calling witnesses. The witnesses Democrats want to call have not previously testified – unlike in the Clinton trial, Schumer said.

He has asked for testimony from Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, along with former national security adviser John Bolton and two other White House aides.

“So if we don’t get a commitment up front that the House managers will be able to call witnesses as part of their case, the Senate will act as little more than a nationally televised meeting of the ‘Mock Trial Club,'” Schumer declared.

In an appeal to Republicans who may have concerns about McConnell’s stance, Schumer also noted that a decision on the parameters of the trial “ultimately rests with a majority of the senators in this chamber.”

Republicans have a 53-seat majority in the Senate, where 51 votes are needed to pass a set of rules for the Trump trial.

At least two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, expressed concerns over the holiday break about McConnell’s approach to the trial after he said he was acting in “total coordination” with the White House and would not be an impartial juror.

The actual impeachment trial in the Senate would need a two-thirds majority vote for a conviction, requiring more than 20 Republicans to break with their party to remove the president.

Schumer said Trump administration correspondence released this week bolstered Democrats’ case that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in an effort to pressure Kiev to investigate the Bidens.

The two Senate leaders spoke after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force and architect of its growing military influence in the Middle East. The attack was authorized by Trump, and Iran has promised harsh revenge.

Clinton ordered four days of bombing on Iraq in 1998 as he was facing an impeachment vote in the House. Those airstrikes delayed the vote, but did not prevent it.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Bill Berkrot)

Responses

  1. First they never proved the accusation the HEARSAY based complaint made ever happened. In fact the FULL TRANSCRIPT of the call disproves it but they preferred to act on schiff’s PARODY rather than the actual transcript.

    Second once they passed the articles which are not even based on the accusation made the house NO LONGER HAS A SAY yet are holding the articles hostage refusing to send them to the senate until they get assured their unconstitutional actions that allowed HEARSAY testimony and PERSONAL OPINIONS to count as if it was knowledge of a first hand witness ensuring no possible defense as is the constitutional right of the accused.

    Obstruction of congress is not denying them access to UNRELATED phone transcripts for a FISHING expedition before they even officially announced they were holding an impeachment inquiry just to try and find anything they can charge Trump with once the transcript proved the complaint based on hearsay was invalid however DEMANDING to continue to control the impeachment procedure by dictating how the senate is allowed to proceed once the house part of the impeachment is over which was when they voted is however directly obstructing congress.

  2. Nothing good will come of doing anything until (or unless) the Articles of Impeachment and naming of House Managers are delivered to the Senate. There best move IMO is to publicly announce they are tabling any discussion of an impeachment trial until that time and proceeding with the many other legislative acts and confirmations on their agenda.

    1. Actually once the house voted for the articles their part ENDED refusing to send them to the senate unless they get to also control how the senate proceeds is obstruction of congress and the senate can declare the articles void for failure to deliver them in a timely manner and refusing to send them unless they house gets to continue to control how the impeachment is handled.

      The house unconstitutionally allowed hearsay testimony, refused to allow any testimony that would harm their accusation to finish even cutting off the attempt to read the actual transcript of the call ,the evidence , that proves schiff’s parody that was allowed to be read into the record was total fiction.

      The “I heard x say y said/did this” testimony is inadmissible in any court or trial that includes impeachment as such no complaint that is based on hearsay is legally valid (why the complaint was rejected when the first attempt to file it was made) and that is what the entire impeachment was based on.

      All we heard throughout the entire house side of the process was hearsay and personal opinions about what OTHERS said Trump said or FELT he intended to say not once did we hear from a first hand witness that directly stated that Trump actually did what he was accused of its little wonder the articles they did finally pass had nothing to do with the complaint they were supposedly hearing testimony about.

      Instead they are based on the houses accusations against Trump for trying to FOLLOW his rights and the law during the proceedings they called it obstruction of congress and bribery.

      (odd how the billionaire who openly stated he would “make huge donations” to political funds of anyone in congress who voted for impeachment is not accused of obstructing congress by offering that bribe which is the only thing the offer of a donation with the demand for a specific vote be made to receive it can be called)

  3. The house set the rules on how to conduct any inquiry so we should follow their rules. Seems fair to me. I am not sure the house will like it however. Didn’t they do this for selecting judges??? You know , one vote over 50% wins. They have lived to regret that and it is not over yet.

    1. The House set their “rules” (to exclude GOP evidence) for their “impeachment” process in the HOUSE. The House – under Pelosi’s rule or that of the Commie Quad Squad – does not have the authority to determine how things will be done in the Senate under McConnell. Pelosi should either send the unconstitutional articles to the Senate for them to hold a 3 minute trial and get back to work FOR America; or, Pelosi should use them during her next bathroom visit.

  4. If the impeachment articles ever show up, we know exactly what will happen. They will be heard, and knowing full well that this is a sham, they will be dismissed. The desired result expected by the dems has not occurred, and a long trial will only expose more wrong doing by democrats not only in Ukraine, but in the conduct of the impeachment investigation.

    1. Rather than concentrate on alleged wrongdoing by Trump, Senate Republicans would try to concentrate on “wrong doing by democrats not only in Ukraine, but in the conduct of the impeachment investigation.”? Sounds like a lot of beating on tables and shouting when they don’t have facts or law on their side.

      1. Join the discussion…sid you are Just another “one party rule” democrat turd.

  5. Why are they even talking about a trial? Until Pelosi decides to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, no trial is possible. And no one knows whether she will send them. All their blathering about what might never be is a waste of time and money. They need to get back to work confirming judges and working with the White House to keep us safe.

  6. A genuine cluster f++k on all fronts and a joke but not a funny one, lose an election and drag the country through a huge money wasting time consuming cry baby trip to the nothing burger shop.

  7. Comrades Schiff, Pelosi and Nadler started a fight that they don’t know how to finish. They’re backed into the proverbial corner as President Trump goes about the business of running the country. If it wouldn’t have cost millions it might be funny.

    1. No, Trump will have the present two Articles of Impeachment , and maybe some new ones, hanging over his head until a Senate trial is convened and a vote taken. Voters might wonder what Senate Republicans are afraid of.

  8. Sorry Schmucky, but you do not get to dictate terms. I’m sure the republicans in the Senate will be more fair than the democrats in the House were. Or should we use the House’s rules and not let the democrats ask questions or subpoena witnesses?

  9. Schumer is an ideological idiot who is trying to run the show;;he has NO power.

    1. Neither does Pigloisi who is trying to run the Senate from her throne in the House.

  10. Reminder: The 100 Senators would be JURORS in this waste of time and money and NOT permitted to question a witness. This entire hoax should be dismissed (with prejudice) since the Senate doesn’t have the unconstitutional articles of “impeachment” the House dimwits said was so “urgent”. The dimwits really do have an urgent need to impeach Trump because they have NO candidate who will be able to beat him in November.

    [The fake Indian squaw is now tied with Bloomberg in 5th place; Mayor Butthead is in 6th and the remaining six clowns are at 2%. Quid pro quo Joe still leads the pack at 28% proving once again being incoherent, mentally bankrupt and inept ARE basic qualifications to be a Leftist candidate.]

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