Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rejecting Democratic calls to bring the Senate back immediately to convict President Trump, a decision that is likely to allow the President to serve out his final days in office.
McConnell’s office made that clear to Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s aides on Wednesday, according to Republican officials. The majority leader also sent a note to Republican senators telling them the chamber won’t return until Jan. 19, according to a person who has seen it, meaning an impeachment trial won’t begin until the early days of Joe Biden’s presidency.
In a statement released after the House voted to impeach, McConnell said:
“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week.”
The House impeachment vote on Wednesday over Trump’s incitement of the riot at the Capitol last week stands as a swift and bipartisan condemnation that makes Trump the first president in United States history to be impeached twice.
McConnell has privately indicated that he believes impeaching Trump would be the way to rid him from the party, a dramatic break between the top Republican who has worked in tandem with the Republican President over the last four years.
In the note to his Republican colleagues Wednesday afternoon on impeachment, he wrote that “while the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”