Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday there is “zero chance” that President Donald Trump is going to be removed from office due to the House Democrat-led impeachment effort.
“We have no choice but to take it up,” McConnell told Fox News host Sean Hannity, referring to the role of the Senate should the House vote to impeach the president.
“But we’ll be working through this process hopefully in a fairly short period of time, in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president, in the well of the Senate,” he said.
Asked if he believed any Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump, McConnell responded, “I doubt it,” adding, “There’s zero chance the president, obviously, would be removed from office. And I’m hoping we’ll have no defections at all.”
The Constitution provides that a majority vote in the House is needed to impeach the president, while two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict and remove him or her from office.
“The case is so darn weak coming over from the House. We all know how it’s going to end,” McConnell said. “There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office.”
Hannity asked the majority leader if he anticipated a long or short trial in the Senate. The host pointed out that some have argued it would be in the president’s best interest to take the time to call witnesses like the whistleblower, who alleged Trump had engaged in a quid pro quo in seeking an investigation from Ukraine into former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for military aid from the U.S.
The July 25 call transcript released from the White House indicated no overt quid pro quo demand, and multiple witnesses who testified before the House Intelligence Committee stated the transcript accurately reflected the conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Hannity also mentioned Biden and his son Hunter Biden as other witnesses the Republican senators might want to call but contended that having a short trial might serve the president better.
McConnell agreed but emphasized that he would defer to what the president’s counsel wanted.
“If you know you have the votes, you’ve listened to the arguments on both sides, and believe the case is so slim, so weak, that you have the votes to end it, that might be what the president’s lawyers would prefer,” McConnell said.
“And you can certainly make a case for making it shorter rather than longer,” he added.
The House Judiciary Committee voted on party lines to approve two articles of impeachment against Trump on Friday.
The president reacted to the vote at the White House, noting U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified that the president wanted “no quid pro quo.“
“To use the power of impeachment on this nonsense is an embarrassment to this country,” Trump said.
President @realDonaldTrump reacts to House Judiciary Committee impeachment vote:
“Where’s the second whistleblower? … It is a disgrace to our country.” pic.twitter.com/N37F7MnoFm
— BlazeTV (@BlazeTV) December 13, 2019
A vote by the full House is expected sometime next week before Congress leaves for the Christmas break.
Assuming the House votes to impeach the president, McConnell anticipates the Senate trial beginning in early January.
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