Powerful Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has made clear there is no time before Trump’s January 20 exit to hold an impeachment trial, given that the Senate is in recess until January 19.
However, he said Wednesday that he was open to the possibility of voting to convict Trump in a trial, which could still be held after Biden takes over.
Donald Trump became the first US president in history to be impeached twice when the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to charge him with inciting last week’s mob attack on Congress.
The Senate will not hold a trial before January 20, when Democrat Joe Biden assumes the presidency, meaning the real estate tycoon will escape the risk of being forced to leave early. He will, however, depart in disgrace — and likely due to face a Senate trial later.
“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,” McConnell said.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that McConnell is signaling privately that he believes Trump did commit impeachable offenses.
This presents a potentially fatal shift in the ground under Trump’s feet, because it could lead other Republican senators to join in convicting Trump with the goal of turning the page in the turbulent relationship between the party and former reality TV host and real estate magnate.