Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that he couldn’t imagine any a situation where the Republican-controlled Senate convicts and removes President Trump from office.
“I can’t imagine a scenario under which President Trump would be removed from office with 67 votes in the Senate,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky, USA Today reported on Monday.
While the House needs a simple majority to pass articles of impeachment, the Senate sets the bar much higher, with more than two-thirds of the 100 senators voting to convict.
While McConnell said that the Senate would take up impeachment, he pilloried it as a waste of time.
“Nothing is happening because House Democrats seized with Trump derangement syndrome are consumed with this argument with the president,” McConnell said.
He again said that due to the Senate rules, the impeachment inquiry should go forward.
“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,” he said.
Some senators, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have suggested that the Senate vote to simply dismiss the House impeachment effort, which would require 51 votes.
McConnell has slammed the House-led process, saying Trump hasn’t been able to call in his own lawyers to defend himself.
“They have denied President Trump basic due process and are cutting his counsel out of the process in an unprecedented way. House Democrats’ new resolution does not change any of that,” McConnell remarked to reporters last month.
In Kentucky, McConnell said that the biggest problem in the United States right now is the lack of civility on both sides of the political spectrum, calling on Americans to put down their anger.
“We have a behavioral problem,” McConnell said in a speech, reported The Associated Press. “People are acting out and it’s not, I don’t think, limited to one ideological place or another. You’ve just got a lot of people engaging in bad behavior.”
He noted that in a Democracy, civility is an “important thing,” saying he wants to steer political discussions away from emotionally laden expressions.
“I intend, for what little impact I can have on that, not to act that way,” he said. “We have plenty of incentive to get angry. But as you may have noticed, I try to stay calm, be respectful and don’t get caught up in these intense debates that we have.”