WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that if the impeachment trial were held today, the Senate would acquit President Donald Trump.
“I will say I’m pretty sure how it’s likely to end,” McConnell said to reporters. “If it were today I don’t think there’s any question — it would not lead to removal. So the question is how long does the Senate want to take?”
“How long do the presidential candidates want to be here on the floor of the Senate instead of in Iowa and New Hampshire?” The Kentucky Republican asked, taking aim at the six Senators running in the Democratic primary election for President. “And all of these other related issues that may be going on at the same time, it’s very difficult to ascertain how long this takes. I’d be surprised if it didn’t end the way the two previous ones did with the president not being removed from office.”
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The House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry stems from a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump pressed Zelensky to investigate the President’s political rivals. The House recently adopted rules for how Democrats will conduct the public phase of the impeachment investigation.
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If the House approves articles of impeachment against the President, there would then be a trial in the Senate, which could vote to remove him.
McConnell also clarified to reporters that discussions on formalizing the process have not begun with Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Minority Leader, but added that “if the House acts, I think the place to start would take a look at what the agreement was 20 years ago [in the Clinton impeachment trial] as a starting place and discuss how we may be able to agree to handle the process.”
“How long it goes on really depends on how long the Senate wants to spend on it,” McConnell said.