Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell warned on Wednesday that there is no possibility of a “fair or serious trial” before current President Donald Trump leaves office next week, instead calling for an “orderly transition of power” to the Biden administration.
“Given the Senate rules, procedures, and precedents governing presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial can be concluded before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell said in a statement.
McConnell illustrated that the Senate previously held three presidential impeachment trials: “They have lasted 83, 37 and 21 days, respectively.”
“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move quickly, a final verdict would not be reached until after President Trump leaves office,” McConnell said, clarifying that “this is not a decision, it is a fact.”
“In light of this reality,” he said, “I believe it will be better for our nation if Congress and the Executive Branch spend the next seven days fully focused on facilitating a safe and orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration.”
He also confirmed that the trial will begin at the first regular meeting of the Senate, which is in recess until January 19, “after receiving the article from the House of Representatives.
The Republican leader made his statement after the House approved the opening of a new impeachment trial against Trump, this time under the charge of “inciting insurrection” for last week’s assault on the Capitol.
Trump is now the only president in U.S. history to face two separate impeachment trials. Wednesday’s vote ended with 232 votes in favor and 197 against, with 10 Republican legislators joining the entire Democratic bench.
Donald Trump has criticized the impeachment against him as “absolutely ridiculous” and “a continuation of the biggest witch-hunt in the history of politics.”
Hours after the impeachment was approved in the House of Representatives, the president addressed the country through a videotape and asked citizens to reject violence, adding that no matter if they are “left or right, Democrat or Republican, violence is never justified.