Impeachment- January 21, 2021
(TrueNewsBlog) – Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, told senators on Thursday that he planned to ask Democrats to delay the start of former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial until early February to allow Mr. Trump’s legal team time to prepare a defense, according to a person familiar with his remarks.
The proposal emerged as Mr. McConnell and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the incoming majority leader, haggled privately behind the scenes over the timing and structure of the proceeding and Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused again to say when she would transmit the impeachment charge to the Senate, thus prompting the start of the trial.
The uncertainty has left Democrats puzzling over how to push forward in trying the former president for his role in egging on the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 without overshadowing President Biden’s first days in office. Ms. Pelosi insisted the trial would not detract from Mr. Biden’s call for unity and implied the prosecution’s case could be speedy, but would not pinpoint a precise date for pressing the charge, beyond saying the House would do so “soon.”
“I don’t think it’s very unifying to say ‘Let’s just forget it and move on,’” the speaker told reporters in the Capitol. “Just because he is now gone — thank God — you don’t say to a president, ‘Do whatever you want in the last months of your administration, you are going to get a get-out-of-jail-free card’ because people think we should make nice-nice, and forget that people died here on Jan. 6, that he attempted to undermine our election, to undermine our democracy, to dishonor our Constitution.”
Once a trial gets underway, lawmakers in both chambers agree it should move quickly. Still bitter over the length and repetition of last year’s trial of Mr. Trump, senators were closing in on rules that would compress the meat of the trial into just three days of oral presentations, with the prosecution and defense each getting up to 12 hours to make their case, people involved in planning said. When the Senate tried Mr. Trump a year ago, each side had up to 24 hours.
Ceremonial requirements, deliberations and votes would add several additional days, but the trial could be the speediest presidential impeachment trial in history.
Still, the timeline could balloon if either the House managers or Mr. Trump’s defense team asked to call witnesses. On Thursday, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on a conference call with Republican senators that Mr. Trump had hired a lawyer, Butch Bowers, according to a person on the call.
Mr. Bowers, whose practice is based in South Carolina, did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.
Whether Democrats would be able to secure enough Republican votes to convict the former president remained unclear. Mr. McConnell has said he has not made up his mind yet.
His counterpart in the House, Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, said on Thursday that he did not believe that Mr. Trump incited the attack at the Capitol.
“I don’t believe he provoked it, if you listen to what he said at the rally,” Mr. McCarthy said on.
The remarks struck a different tone than Mr. McCarthy did last week on the House floor, when he argued during the impeachment debate that Mr. Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack.
“He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” Mr. McCarthy said then.