'We Have the Votes': McConnell Announces Impeachment Trial Rules Without Deal With Democrats
Update 2:45 p.m. Eastern.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that "we have the votes" to pass an ongoing resolution to start the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump without requiring witness testimony.
"We have the votes once the impeachment trial has begun to pass a resolution essentially just saying [something] very similar to the 100 to nothing vote in the Clinton trial which sets up as you may recall what could best be described maybe as a Phase One," McConnell said, The Hill reported.
This first resolution on rules echoes the resolution passed at the start of the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial. That 1999 resolution set forth time for the House impeachment managers and the president’s defense team to present their opening arguments and for senators to submit questions in writing. The resolution made no specific requirement for additional witness testimony, however.
The Senate chose to depose three witnesses on video, including former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Democrats wanted a resolution at the outset that would establish the rules for impeachment and include a specific deal on witnesses, but they need four Republicans to vote with them in order to achieve this.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to announce rules for an impeachment trial without an agreement with Senate Democrats, a source close to the majority leader told The Washington Examiner.
While the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump on a partisan vote on December 19, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to forward the articles of impeachment on to the Senate, claiming that McConnell's decision to work with the White House guaranteed that the trial would be unfair. Yet Senate Democrats coordinated with Bill Clinton's White House during the impeachment trial of 1998. Some have suggested that Trump's impeachment is null and void if Pelosi does not forward the articles.
McConnell has so far failed to reach an agreement with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), but he has gained a consensus among Republican senators, the Examiner's source said.
McConnell's office did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment by press time.
This story is developing and will be updated.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.