Mitch McConnell has purportedly been open about his desire to hurry the impeachment trial through the Senate, but a new report from The Daily Beast says that it isn’t just a desire to get back to business as usual that is making the Senate majority leader want to rush. Reportedly, McConnell is also worried that there will be new bombshells — or that President Donald Trump may do or say something that could disrupt the trial before it can conclude.
The Senate debates and votes on the rules for the impeachment trial on Tuesday. Republicans have reportedly said that they want to get the proceedings over as quickly as possible, in part because a long trial could harm the reelection chances for some GOP senators in battleground areas. They’ve also said that they don’t want the trial to turn into a “circus.” But that’s seemingly not the only reason for an expeditious process.
During the period of time between when the House passed two articles of impeachment against the president — one for obstruction of Congress and one for abusing the power of the office of the president — and the time when the articles were forwarded to the Senate, multiple new claims emerged relating to the events surrounding the Ukraine conversations that are the focus of the impeachment.
Claims from Lev Parnas — and a report from a federal government watchdog asserting that funds withheld from Ukraine were held back illegally — have added to arguments from Democrats against Trump.
McConnell can’t control Trump’s Twitter account, and the president has been known to reveal information — or make proclamations — using that account, The Daily Beast argues.
‘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
McConnell said on Monday night that prosecutors and Trump’s defense team will only get two days to present their arguments. Following that, senators will only have a few hours for questions. At that point, the Senate can vote on whether it will review additional evidence or hear from any witnesses. Reportedly, at this point, it doesn’t appear that any witnesses will be called. Sen. Chris Van Hollen told The Daily Beast that witnesses could change the result of the trial.
“In a trial, you never know what will happen if you have witnesses and documents,” he said. “It can change the dynamic of the trial. As to whether it’ll change the ultimate outcome, that’s for senators to decide after hearing all the witnesses.”
Many people expect the Senate to acquit the president, as Sen. Ted Cruz recently confirmed.
“We will respect due process, both sides will be allowed to present their case,” he said. “And then we will decide the matter pursuant to the law and the Constitution, and I am confident at the end of this proceeding the result will be an acquittal.”