Looks like they won’t be getting what they want…
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a press conference on Tuesday that he would not elaborate on the House of Representatives’ frequent impeachment changes.
And he expects the Senate to hold an impeachment trial at long last, McConnell said he would “be surprised if it didn’t end the way the two previous ones did, with the president not being removed from office.”
McConnell declined to say three times if he believes the whistle-blower should be identified publicly.
“What I’m going to do is wait until we get the case from the House — it looks like that is going to happen — and withhold judgment on the daily revelations, charges, witnesses, all the rest that you all, of course, need to report on as it–as it comes out. That’s really all I have to say about that at this point.”
McConnell said that the Senate Majority Leader has little control over the process of impeachment:
“We have rules of impeachment,” he noted.
Presumably, at some point, Senator Schumer and I will sit down and see if we can agree on a process. After that, the chief justice rules on any motions. Presumably what you will see in the well will be the prosecutors that come over from the House. They’ve typically been Judiciary Committee people. And the president’s lawyer. And they put on the case.
We’re not allowed to speak when we’re in open session, which I’ve suggested might be good therapy for some of our members. And the only time I can recall during the Clinton trial that we talked, we went into private session and had some deliberation.
How long it goes on is undetermined. In the Clinton impeachment, it went on for a couple of months. But that is up to the Senate to decide how long. And so, this is not something the majority can kind of micromanage like it can on almost every other issue.
McConnell said he did not start talking to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about the impeachment process:
If the House acts I think the place to start we take a look at what the agreement was 20 years ago as a starting place and discuss how we may be able to agree to handle the process. After that, it’s largely out of our hands and in the hands of the Chief Justice, who presides over it, who rules on motions and it– how long it goes on really just depends on how long the Senate wants to spend on it.
I will say, I’m pretty sure it is likely to end.
If it were today, I don’t think there is any question, it would not lead to a removal. So, the question is, is how long does the Senate want to take. How long do presidential candidates want to be here on the floor of the Senate instead of in Iowa and New Hampshire and all of these other related issues that may be going on at the same time. It’s very difficult to ascertain, you know, how long this takes.
I’d be surprised if it didn’t end the way the two previous ones did with the president not being removed from office.