Earlier this week, following a long period of deliberation and intense partisan bickering, Democrats in the House of Representatives sent the impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the Senate. Not a single Republican is expected to defect, and the GOP appears to stand firmly with Trump.
The rules of the trial have yet to be established, however. According to a new report from The Hill, Republican senators want to speed up the process, starting by limiting the number of days each side has to make opening arguments. Senate Republicans, according to the report, want to give House managers and the president’s legal team 24 hours to present their cases.
As Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said on Friday, each side “will have 24 hours spread out over two days to present the arguments they want.”
“I’ll be interested to see whether or not that gets elongated over a few days, but I think the going in posture is two, 12 hour periods,” Sen. Thom Tillis revealed during a Senate session.
Similarly, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said that House managers will have a “couple of days” to present their own case.
As The Hill notes, the Republicans’ initiative to speed up the process “underscores the growing anxiety in sections of the caucus.” Apparently, the GOP wants to wrap up the process before the February 4 State of the Union address.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will make the final decision. If he agrees to speed up the process, the upcoming resolution on the trial rules will include specific time requirements.
Republicans have said that Trump’s impeachment trial will be modeled after former President Bill Clinton’s 1999 proceeding. The Clinton impeachment trial lasted five weeks, but Trump’s is expected to end quicker.
According to Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, McConnell agrees that the process needs to end quickly.
“I don’t know if Mitch has said this… one times or a thousand times, but our goal really ought to be, and I think he’s right, our goal ought to be to get through this as quickly as possible,” Cramer said during a press briefing.
‘This body, this chamber, exists precisely so that we can look past daily dramas and understand how our actions will reverberate for generations. The House’s hour is over. The Senate’s time is at hand. It is time for this proud body to honor our founding purpose.’ pic.twitter.com/MYYkUmgV84
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) January 16, 2020
Some Republicans have questioned the very purpose of holding an impeachment trial. In an interview earlier this week. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said that “the verdict has already been decided,” suggesting that both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have already made up their mind.
According to Paul, not a single Republican will vote to convict Trump, not only because they think Trump did nothing wrong during his contacts with the Ukrainian government, but also because voting against the president would be met with intense scrutiny from the Republican electorate.