Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that if the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump, “it won’t be up to me” to decide how the Senate trial would be conducted.
The Kentucky Republican said that if the House passes the articles of impeachment, the Senate will have to follow the existing rules of the trial unless 100 senators vote to change the rules, the Washington Examiner reported.
Chief Justice John Roberts would also be the one to conduct the investigation. McConnell expects to sit down with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at some point to agree on the process, but Roberts is the one who has control.
“Unlike other processes in the Senate, the majority leader does not really have ball control here,” McConnell said.
If the Senate takes up the impeachment trial, McConnell said that he has “no idea how long this will go on.”
“At some point, it ends. With the Clinton impeachment, it went on for two months,” he said.
“It will displace everything else and we will be on it until we finish.”
McConnel has been encouraging Senate Republicans who are not comfortable defending the president’s alleged actions to focus on how Democrats are conducting the impeachment inquiry, The Hill reported.
“What is clear and not in dispute, as Sen. Blunt pointed out, is the process in the House to which the president is being subjected is totally unprecedented and totally unfair,” McConnell said.
An anonymous senator told The Hill that the Senate Majority Leader wants Republicans to stick together.
“He feels everybody is free to talk about issues like Ukraine or maybe the Kurds, but to try to conduct an impeachment without any process is very contrary to what happened before,” the senator said.
McConnell himself has criticized the president, most recently saying that Trump’s use of the word “lynching” was “unfortunate.”
The Senate Majority Leader also denied that he had discussed the contents of the president’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“He read my phone call with the president of Ukraine,” Trump said. “Mitch McConnell, he said, ‘That was the most innocent phone call that I’ve read.’ I mean, give me a break.”
McConnell, however, denied Trump’s claim.
“We have not had any conversations on that subject,” he said.
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