McConnell on Possible Trump Impeachment Articles: ‘We’ll Have to Have a Trial’

November 13, 2019 Updated: November 13, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the chamber would likely have a trial if articles of impeachment are passed in the House.

“I don’t think there’s any question that we have to take up the matter. The rules of impeachment are very clear, we’ll have to have a trial. My own view is that we should give people the opportunity to put the case on,” McConnell told reporters on Wednesday as the House held public hearings on its impeachment inquiry.

McConnell said that the time-frame is unclear.

“On the issue of how long it goes on, it’s really kind of up to the Senate. People will have to conclude are they learning something new? At some point we’ll get to an end,” he said.

His remarks were delivered as there were rumors that Republican Senators would try to quickly dismiss articles of impeachment with a simple majority vote.

During the impeachment efforts against former President Bill Clinton, Senate Democrats attempted to dismiss articles of impeachment that were passed in the House. A motion to dismiss would need 51 votes, while there are 53 Republicans in the Senate.

The Senate would then need 67 votes to convict and remove Trump.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said the impeachment trial will last for quite a while.

According to a CNN report Tuesday, Burr predicted that the impeachment trial would last from “six to eight weeks.” In comparison, the Clinton impeachment trial lasted about five weeks.

Burr said that “the day the [Senate] takes [the impeachment trial] up, we go into session six days a week from 12:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.,” according to the CNN report.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) also told reporters on Wednesday he didn’t expect there to be enough support to dismiss articles of impeachment.

“There’s some people talking about trying to stop the bill, dismiss charges basically as soon as they get over here. I think that’s not going to happen. That would require 51 votes,” he said.

Cornyn added that it might be better for the Senate to hold a trial if the House impeaches the president.

He said that “the better course would be to let each side have their say and then have the Senate vote and see if they can meet the two-thirds threshold” to determine whether the upper body of Congress should impeach Trump.

It would be very unlikely that enough Republicans would vote to remove Trump from office, Cornyn said.

The first public House impeachment inquiry hearing was held on Wednesday, including testimonies from State Department diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent.

An anonymous whistleblower’s complaint to the intelligence community’s inspector general was made saying that Trump had pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate potential Democratic foe Joe Biden, Bidens’ son, and he was holding up U.S. military aid. Biden’s son sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm. Trump has denied the allegations.

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