WASHINGTON: Before determining whether to indict the former president, Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of the US Senate and, until recently, a loyal advocate of Donald Trump, said he would listen to legal claims.
Senator McConnel wrote in a letter to Republican senators after the impeachment vote, “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.”
After the mob attack, Senator McConnel played a crucial role in maintaining the joint legislative session and in confirming the win of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election.
Mr Biden was confirmed by the joint session as the winner and paved the way for his oath to be taken on January 20.
The assault triggered a drastic shift in the stance of Mr. McConnell towards President Trump when he not only condemned the storming, but also criticised Trump for criticising the outcome of the election.
He had either backed the president’s moves in the past or had been quiet. Thirteen months earlier, he also opposed the first impeachment of Mr Trump and played a crucial part in thwarting the effort to unseat him.
The pro-Trump Fox News reported that Mr McConnell said to his coworkers after the Jan 6 attack that he was “done” and “furious” with the president.
But Senator McConnel ruled out the prospect of holding an early impeachment hearing in a statement posted on his site after the House vote on Wednesday.
After receiving the article from the Assembly, the Senate procedure will now proceed at our first daily meeting (Jan 19), “he wrote, “
There is clearly no hope that a fair or serious trial will end before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week, provided the laws, processes, and Senate precedents that regulate presidential impeachment proceedings, he said.
Senator McConnel points out that three presidential impeachment hearings have been held by the Senate so far, lasting 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days, respectively.
Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and proceed fast, until after President Trump left office, no definitive decision will be reached,” he said.”
“In light of this reality, if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days fully focused on facilitating a secure inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming administration, I believe it will best serve our nation.”
While the House voted on Wednesday, after it receives a formal invitation to do so, the Senate will consider the impeachment article.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would either deny the charge or hold a hearing, will decide whether to forward the article to the Senate. For conviction, at least 67 of the 100 senators are required.
This will necessitate the expulsion of Mr Trump from office.
While, with the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, the Democrats will rule the Senate after January 19, the conviction will not take effect without Republican support.