On the heels of House Democrats successfully passing two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met on Thursday afternoon to begin negotiations on the rules of the pending Senate impeachment trial, but failed to come to any agreements.
According to Politico, the two high-ranking senators entered a meeting room at approximately 3 p.m. on Thursday, only to exit the room a mere 20 minutes later, reportedly failing to begin the presumably arduous process of deciding exactly how Trump’s Senate impeachment trial will play out from a rules perspective.
McConnell briefly commented on the meeting while adding that the Senate will be taking recess and not meeting again until January 3 of the new year. He added that a vote on the impeachment rules won’t take place until January 6.
“We remain at an impasse,” McConnell said after meeting with Schumer.
The results of their meeting was reportedly not a surprise to aides and observers, as the two have taken shots at each other from the moment the possibility of a Senate impeachment trial was introduced as the House advanced the impeachment inquiry.
The two are also at odds over current established guidelines for setting the rules of a trial and when to call witnesses.
“My friend from New York continues to insist on departing from the unanimous bipartisan precedent,” McConnell said, referring to rules that the Senate used during Bill Clinton’s impeachment. “I continue to believe that the unanimous bipartisan precedent that was good enough for Bill Clinton ought to be good enough for President Trump.”
Schumer countered McConnell’s assertion that the impeachment trial should mimic Clinton’s, given that during his impeachment, there were more witnesses called during the House portion of the impeachment than there were with Trump’s impeachment inquiry.
The meeting of the two opposing forces in the Senate also comes amid news from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she’s refusing to transmit the impeachment to the Senate, citing the lack of fair rules established for the trial.
Though her tactic is widely praised by Democrats, McConnell reacted to the news in much different tone, essentially accusing House Democrats of being afraid of sending the impeachment to the Senate where, in all likelihood, it will result in an exoneration for Trump.
“It’s like the prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country and second-guessing whether they even want to go to trial,” McConnell said of Pelosi’s decision to delay the matter.
The decision to delay the impeachment could be for nothing in the end, due to the fact that Republicans control the Senate and have the ability to pass any rules for the trial with a simple majority vote.