Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly preparing members of the Senate for an impeachment trial following the announcement last month that the House had launched an official inquiry.
The news comes in tweets from BuzzFeed News Capitol Hill reporter Paul McLeod, who reported that McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, gave the instructions at a lunch for Republican senators on Wednesday afternoon. With the help of Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who participated in former President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial, McConnell reportedly broke down the rules of what would be the first impeachment trial in two decades.
McConnell reportedly told the Republican senators that, should the House vote to impeach the president, they will sit six days each week – every day but Sunday – for the trial. McLeod tweeted that the Kentucky Republican told his fellow Republican senators that the trial would begin at 12:30 p.m. each day, and that they should expect a trial to last for several weeks.
According to the BuzzFeed News reporter, lawyers representing the House will act as the prosecution, with White House counsel acting as the defense. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial. McConnell reportedly told the senators that they are not speak during the trial, as they will act as jurors. McLeod said McConnell warned that senators who speak out during the trial would be removed the proceedings.
Per McLeod, should the House vote to impeach the president, a trial is likely as a motion to dismiss the trial would have to be brought up by either House lawyers or White House counsel. A motion would not likely pass, McLeod said, because multiple Republicans have told him that they believe it is their duty to take up articles of impeachment from the House.
As The Inquisitr has previously reported, the president and his administration has refused to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, announced at the end of September. The announcement came following a whistleblower that filed an official compliant alleging that the president had attempted to get the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
The president has insisted that the call was “perfect,” and that he did nothing wrong. Since news of the call broke, Trump has publicly called on both the Ukrainian and Chinese governments to investigate Biden, one of the Democratic Party’s top contenders to run against him in next year’s general election.
As The Inquisitr noted earlier Wednesday, former Obama-era administration official Neal Katyal, who served as acting U.S. solicitor general in 2010 and 2011, said earlier this week that the Trump administration’s current impeachment strategy of stonewalling could have grave consequences for the president. Katyal compared the president’s strategy to that of former President Richard Nixon who resigned amid scandal before he could be impeached.