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Mitch McConnell refuses to expedite Donald Trump trial


President-elect Joe Biden will begin his term seeking to confirm his cabinet and seize hold of the coronavirus response while the Senate most likely moves ahead with an impeachment trial of his predecessor.  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has decided not to use his position to bring the Senate back into session for an immediate impeachment trial – putting the start date of a trail off by days, and throwing the start of Biden’s tenure into doubt. 

McConnell’s office confirmed Wednesday that the leader, who is reportedly infuriated with Trump following the MAGA mob that ransacked the Capitol, would not use special emergency authority to bring colleagues back to consider an impeachment article against Trump. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has 'not made a final decision on how I will vote' on impeachment, he told colleagues. He has decided not to use emergency powers to call the Senate back in question for a quick impeachment trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has ‘not made a final decision on how I will vote’ on impeachment, he told colleagues. He has decided not to use emergency powers to call the Senate back in question for a quick impeachment trial

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York had hoped to get McConnell on board to act sooner.  

That means the chamber is likely to be back in session only on January 19th – the day before Joe Biden is set to take the Oath of Office.  

With Republicans still holding the majority this week, Biden has been able to secure hearings for a group of his nominees at key cabinet departments of Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, and State – but Biden plans to name ‘acting’ heads from among career officials.

But there is a real concern impeachment will soak up both floor time and attention during the start of his term. Schumer, who will become majority leader after Biden takes office, is seeking to carry out a plan to split days between legislative and confirmation work and the impeachment trial.

Trump supporters gather on the second day of pro-Trump events fueled by President Donald Trump's continued claims of election fraud in an to overturn the results before Congress finalizes them in a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Trump supporters gather on the second day of pro-Trump events fueled by President Donald Trump’s continued claims of election fraud in an to overturn the results before Congress finalizes them in a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump a ''clear and present danger' and called for his impeachment

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump a ”clear and present danger’ and called for his impeachment

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, gathers her papers before entering the House chamber, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. The House of Representatives is pursuing an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for his role in inciting an angry mob to storm the Capitol last week

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, gathers her papers before entering the House chamber, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. The House of Representatives is pursuing an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for his role in inciting an angry mob to storm the Capitol last week

National Guard soldiers taking a break inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 13 January 2021. Today the House starts impeachment proceedings against US President Donald J. Trump for inciting the insurrection that lead to the storming of the US Capitol by Trump partisans

National Guard soldiers taking a break inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 13 January 2021. Today the House starts impeachment proceedings against US President Donald J. Trump for inciting the insurrection that lead to the storming of the US Capitol by Trump partisans

Biden has said he raised the issue of a ‘bifurcated’ issue with McConnell, who has reached out to the Senate parliamentarian.

McConnell wrote colleagues Wednesday following press reports of his fury over the Capitol riots and that he might even back impeachment. 

‘While the press has been full of speculation, 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,’ McConnell told colleagues.

His statement came after Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the House GOP conference chair, announced her support for impeachment in a blistering statement that House Democrats quoted on the floor. 

Biden is developing a coronavirus relief plan to revive $2,000 checks to Americans, with a plan of crafting a bipartisan package rather than using special budget reconciliation rules to jam it through with Democratic votes, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Schumer has called the package ‘our first order of legislative business.’   

McConnell’s office confirmed the decision as the House was debating an article charging Trump with ‘incitement of insurrection,’ with Democrats accusing Trump of fueling a ‘deadly insurrection’ and Republicans calling for ‘unity’ in Trump’s final days.

The president himself issued a statement from the White House urging that there be ‘NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind.’

The timing of a trial was raised as an obstacle even before House Democrats decided to go ahead with impeachment, with some harboring doubts about impeaching Trump after he leaves office. House Republicans argued it could bring martyrdom to Trump, even at a time when he was suffering resignations and denunciations.

McConnell’s decision impacted the House impeachment debate as it was still going on. House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who spoke against impeachment Trump despite saying he ‘bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,’ invoked the Senate decision as a reason not to go ahead with impeachment. 

‘The Senate will not even take this up until President Trump is out of office,’ said House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who like McCarthy voted not to accept electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania last week. 

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