Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) again asserted that he does not expect President Donald Trump to be convicted and removed by the Senate when impeachment reaches the upper congressional body.
“I would be totally surprised if there were 67 senators to remove the president,” McConnell said in a weekly press conference, “That remains my view. However, we are obligated under the Constitution to turn to it when it comes over. And we will.”
The Senate which has a Republican majority needs 67 out of 100 votes to convict a president, while the Democrat-controlled House needs a simple majority to pass articles of impeachment.
McConnell also voiced his displeasure with the House’s push to impeach Trump.
“House Democrats announced they would rush ahead and prepare to send the articles of impeachment based on the least thorough and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.
The longtime senator then indicated when the Senate vote would take place. According to reports, House Democrats are trying to vote on articles of impeachment before the Christmas break, which starts at the end of next week.
“If the House continues this destructive road and sends us articles of impeachment, the Senate will take them up in the New Year and proceed to a fair trial,” he added.
On Tuesday, McConnell said the Senate would have two options after hearing opening arguments drawn from the House’s articles of impeachment and Trump’s defense counsel.
“It could go down the path of calling witnesses and basically having another trial or it could decide—and again, 51 members could make that decision—that they’ve heard enough and believe they know what would happen and could move to vote on the two articles of impeachment,” he told reporters. “Those are the options. No decisions have been made yet.”
His statements came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump. On Wednesday and Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings to consider two articles of impeachment introduced by Democrats.
They alleged Trump abused his position when he asked Ukraine’s president to “look into” circumstances surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm long accused of corruption. Democrats claim he withheld aid as leverage. They also accused Trump of obstruction of Congress for stonewalling the House’s investigation.
Trump and Ukrainian officials have denied the claims and the aid was released to Ukraine without any investigations being carried out.