GOP will start impeachment trial
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he has the votes to start President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial as soon as Speaker Nancy Pelosi releases the documents, winning support from GOP senators to postpone a decision on calling witnesses.
McConnell could launch the third impeachment trial in the nation’s history this week if Pelosi sends the articles of impeachment to the Senate. She was set to meet late Tuesday with her leadership team.
“We have the votes,” McConnell told reporters. He said the question of new witnesses and documents will be addressed later “and not before the trial begins.”
The contours of a Senate trial have been in dispute.
Pelosi is delaying transmission of the articles as Democrats press to hear from former national security adviser John Bolton and other new witnesses. McConnell has resisted.
The GOP leader told senators at their closed-door lunch Tuesday that he has support for his plan, which is modeled after President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial 20 years ago. It would start the trial first and postpone votes on witnesses until later in the process.
Democrats are ramping up pressure on Republicans not to go along with McConnell’s proposal to postpone voting on new testimony. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it a “trap” and a “cover-up.”
“Whoever heard of a trial without witnesses and documents?” the New York Democrat said. He asked Trump what he has to hide. “Witnesses and documents: fair trial. No witnesses and documents: cover- up.”
Pelosi appears in no rush to transmit the articles of impeachment as Democrats push to hear from more witnesses but McConnell focuses Republicans on a strategy for speedy acquittal.