Mitch McConnell is going to get around to acquitting Donald Trump starting a week from today, the Senate Majority leader said Tuesday afternoon.
Preliminary steps for the trial – including the swearing in of senators as jurors – will be taken later this week. “In all likelihood”, the actual proceedings will begin next Tuesday, McConnell remarked.
The time table is, of course, contingent on Nancy Pelosi sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday, which she will, once the House approves.
This process has been delayed for weeks as Pelosi sought to extract concessions around witnesses. She was unsuccessful in that regard. McConnell on Tuesday said trial witnesses will be addressed later.
McConnell has variously insisted on sticking to the Clinton template, where that means a decision on witnesses won’t be made until after the House managers and Trump’s legal team have presented arguments.
On Monday, CBS reported that the White House was expecting a handful of GOP senators to vote with Democrats when it comes to the debate around compelling testimony from those with relevant information. Their names are familiar – Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney and Cory Gardner have all been mentioned as possibly amenable to the pleas of Democrats. Rand Paul and Lamar Alexander were also mentioned, with the former described as a “wild card” and the latter an “institutionalist”, by White House sources.
Democrats would need to sway just four Republicans to compel testimony, as a simple majority is all that’s needed. John Bolton announced last week that he would testify if called, although Trump suggested he’d invoke executive privilege.
Over the weekend, Trump said the Senate should just change the rules and drop the whole thing.
“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have”, the president rambled, in a tweet.
In a separate screed, Trump said this:
Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong? Read the Transcripts! A totally partisan Hoax, never happened before.
It’s impossible to satirize that. How do you improve on comedic perfection?