Mitch McConnell Coordinating With White House To Plan Impeachment Trial
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and White House counsel Pat Cipollone met Thursday to outline a plan for defending President Donald Trump as impeachment proceedings move from the House to the Senate.
Trump has made it clear that he wants witnesses to testify in person, including Hunter Biden and the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the original inquiry. However, witness testimony could complicate and prolong proceedings, some Republican lawmakers have warned.
Democratic lawmakers have brought two articles of impeachment against the president, including charges for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
McConnell is certain that the GOP-controlled Senate would not vote to remove Trump from office.
“There’s no chance the President will be removed from office,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity on Thursday night. “My hope is there won’t be a single Republican who votes for these two articles of impeachment.”
The matter at hand is now how Republicans and the White House should defend the president from the charges, an issue McConnell and Cipollone are coordinating together to confront.
“We are having a lot of good conversations with Senate Republicans,” Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, said as he left the closed-door meeting with Cipollone. “We will continue to do that here over the next few days and weeks as we work through all these issues and priorities the President has outlined when it comes to where we should go on these articles.”
Not only would calling witnesses complicate the proceedings, but there are no legal grounds to compel the testimony of several witnesses Trump desires, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California). The anonymous whistleblower is protected from having his or her identity revealed, and thus would be an unlikely witness.
“I think people are starting to realize that that would be a pretty messy and unproductive process,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) said about Trump’s witness proposal.
McConnell made it clear he hopes the proceedings will be over quickly.
“My hope is that it will be a shorter process rather than a lengthy process,” McConnell told Hannity. He added that every decision would be made “in total coordination with the White House counsel.”
“There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position in how to handle this,” McConnell said.