Democratic momentum just met Mitch McConnell.
The Kentucky Republican who still holds the Senate majority leader post for a few more days has rejected a plan by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to call the body back into session for an impeachment trial for President Donald Trump.
And killed the idea of a trial while Trump is still in office.
According to a report by the Daily Caller, a McConnell spokesman said his office had informed Schumer that McConnell would not invoke emergency authority to reconvene the Senate for a trial before the scheduled Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic majority passed an article of impeachment charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in challenging the results of the Nov. 3 election, which led to the Jan. 6 incursion into the Capitol by a riotous mob of Trump supporters, according to CNN.
There is no doubt Pelosi and the radical left would have liked nothing better than to end the Trump presidency with a Senate trial.
But that impeachment attempt — the Democrats’ second against Trump — is now all but certainly dead before Trump leaves the White House.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office confirmed that he will not “consent” to reconvening the Senate before Jan. 19, effectively killing hopes for removing President Trump from office before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) January 13, 2021
On the one hand, the news is no surprise, given that McConnell had already publicly outlined why it would be unlikely for the Senate to try Trump before his term was up.
On the other hand, the confirmation was a big story, after an Axios report on Tuesday fed Democratic hopes by citing anonymous sources who claimed McConnell was open to the idea of convicting Trump.
A similar report Tuesday in The New York Times, also citing anonymous sources, even claimed that McConnell was “pleased” at the prospect of Democrats impeaching Trump.
(According to a Twitter post on Wednesday by CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins, McConnell told fellow senators that “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.” )
Reports like those, combined with the establishment media’s usual breathless hyping of every development on the Democratic side of the aisle, were clearly attempting to push a narrative that a Trump ouster was actually imminent.
McConnell’s decision on Wednesday brought that to a grinding halt.
@senatemajldr pulls the plug on the impeachment frenzy.
— Andrea E (@AAC0519) January 13, 2021
BREAKING: The Senate Majority Leader previously informed the Speaker of the House that their impeachment effort would not remove the president from office due to scheduling. They moved forward for political reasons not the ‘safety’ of the nation as they’ve claimed.
— @amuse (@amuse) January 13, 2021
Trump didn’t do anything wrong. Just because he and 75 million Americans thought there was election fraud and wanted someone to look into it is not wrong. Trump never told anyone to riot. #trump Trump one of our best presidents ever!
— Cat (@Cat24662370) January 13, 2021
There is precedent for an impeachment trial for a former federal officeholder.
In 1876, President Ulysses Grant’s former Secretary of War William Belknap was tried in the Senate on impeachment charges approved by the House minutes before he resigned, according to the Senate website.
Belknap was acquitted when the charges against him failed to win conviction votes from two-thirds of the Senate.
So a Trump trial is possible, but McConnell’s move puts the incoming Democratic administration and Democratic Senate majority in a bind.
The question is: will Biden go along with the radical left wing of his party and pursue an impeachment trial of Trump after the president leaves office?
If so, he’s going to forfeit the earliest days of his presidency in rehashing the past — and no doubt alienate many, many of the almost 75 million Americans who voted for Trump in November.
If the movement to impeach Trump doesn’t go to trial, the most radical-left elements of the Democratic Party, never satisfied with Biden in the first place, will be even harder to deal with in their vicious malice.
It was a big wrench McConnell threw into Pelosi’s impeachment plans on Wednesday, and it’s going to likely be a big wrench for the incoming Biden administration, too.
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