Report: Republicans Close to Finalizing Plan To Ensure Dems Can't Drag Out Impeachment Trial
As the Senate prepares for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, two new reports indicate that the upper chamber is planning rules that would prevent the trial from dragging on for weeks.
According to Axios, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said the rules that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to adopt will give Trump’s legal team the option to call for an end to the trial at any time during the process.
Trump has called for such a vote at the start of the trial, which would obviate the need for the trial at all. However, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday that there are not enough votes in the Senate to make that happen, according to Fox News.
Hawley, however, said that Trump’s team will have its chance.
“I am familiar with the resolution as it stood a day or two ago,” Hawley said.
“My understanding is that the resolution will give the president’s team the option to either move to judgment or to move to dismiss at a meaningful time.”
He went on to say that if that provision is not in the final resolution, he would be “very, very surprised” and might oppose it.
.@realDonaldTrump deserves the right during Senate trial to ask for a verdict or move to dismiss – otherwise trial will become endless circus run by Adam Schiff https://t.co/JsUXsnhYTI
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 19, 2020
Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia said McConnell was considering a fast-track plan that gave each side 24 hours of speaking time over two days.
“Twenty-four hours of presentation by the House managers over two days, then 24 hours of presentation by the president’s team over two days and then 16 hours of questions submitted by the members in writing to the chief justice. That’s our proposal,” he said Sunday, according to The New York Times.
McConnell’s strategy of keeping his plans private has infuriated Democrats.
“Whether it’s because McConnell knows the trial is a cover-up and wants to whip through it as quickly as possible, or because he’s afraid even more evidence will come out, he’s trying to rush it through,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
“That is wrong. And it is so wrong that no one even knows what his plan is a day and a half before one of the most momentous decisions any senator will ever make.”
Democrats have demanded that the Senate trial include additional witnesses not called by House Democrats when they rushed the articles of impeachment through the House last month.
Republicans have been cool to that approach, with some saying they want to see the House’s case first. Others have rejected the call for witnesses outright.
“If the House isn’t prepared to go forward with the evidence that they produced in the impeachment inquiry, maybe they ought to withdraw the articles of impeachment and start over again,” Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said.
Graham said Democrats will not get their way in the Senate.
On “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Graham about the reported plan for giving each side two 12-hour days to present a case.
“If we call one witness, we’re going to call all the witnesses. There’s not going to be a process where the Democrats get their witnesses and the president gets shut out,” the South Carolina Republican said.
“Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to be consistent. I’m going to vote against calling the four witnesses requested by Senator Schumer. They’re all covered by executive privilege. They’re part of the national security team of the president. They could have been called in the House. They chose not to. Apparently they don’t need them to make their case.
“Hunter Biden and Joe Biden and the whistleblower, we can look at those allegations of misconduct outside of impeachment. I want this trial to get over with as quick as possible. I want the people of the United States to pick the next president, not a court of impeachment. And I’d like to be spending my time working on prescription drugs and national security issues instead of this,” Graham said.
“Well, to my friends on the Democratic side, you know, I like Nancy Pelosi. I’ve known her for years. And I think she is a very religious person. But when it comes to Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi may pray for him privately, but she has orchestrated the church of holy hell. From the time Trump has been sworn in to now, it’s been one thing after another.
“Here’s what I would say to the House folks. You took 48 days to impeach this president. You did not allow him to call any witnesses. He could not have a lawyer present during the House Intel Committee. This has been a partisan railroad job. And you’re asking for fairness in the Senate? You violated every norm of what we do. It took five years for Starr to look at Clinton. Mueller looked at Trump for almost two years. And you took 48 days.
“So here’s what I would say. The sooner this is over, the better for the country. We can get back to do the business of the American people and do things that really matter to them. I’ve been very consistent. I supported Mueller. I trusted him to be fair. This has been a political hit job. This is political revenge. And what they’re doing to the presidency is a danger to the institution itself.”
Graham said Trump is confident going into the trial.
“I think he wants to have a chance to have his day in court that he didn’t get in the House. It would be nice to have a lawyer present. It would be nice to request witnesses. I guarantee you, he’ll get a better deal in the Senate than in the House. But his mood is to go to the State of the Union with this behind him and talk about what he wants to do for the next — rest of 2020 and what he wants to do for the next four years.
“He is very much comfortable with the idea this is going to turn out well for him. He believes politically this has helped him. He thinks it’s a threat to the presidency. The one thing he talks to me constantly about is, what does the next president do after this if this is successful? He does not want to legitimatize attack on the presidency.
“And that’s my number one goal is to do this trial in a fashion that no House Republican or Democrat ever again will do again what this House did.”
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