McConnell on Impeachment: “Senate Republicans Strongly Believe we Need a Full and Fair Process”


WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding impeachment trial timing:

“While business proceeds on the floor, the Democratic Leader and I are continuing to flesh out the structure for this 50-50 Senate.

“When Leaders Lott and Daschle wrote a similar agreement 20 years ago, there wasn’t a need to reaffirm the basic standing rules that govern legislation in the Senate. It was safely assumed that no majority would break this rule for short-term gain.

“Floor remarks surrounding those 2001 discussions specifically cite the legislative filibuster as an important and unquestioned part of the backdrop that lay beneath the negotiations on the finer details. It was assumed no one would ever take that step.

“After the fact, Leader Daschle, the Democrat, praised the legislative filibuster as a crucial rule. President Biden has praised this distinctive feature of the Senate on many occasions.

“Our current Democratic colleagues used it liberally over the last several years when they were in the minority. More than two dozen signed a bipartisan letter in 2017 saying our Republican majority should not break this rule by brute force.

“I agreed. I didn’t do it. And some voices including President Trump were not happy with that.

“So Democrats used the filibuster constantly. They were happy to insist on a 60-vote threshold for practically every major bill we took up.

“So we’ll continue to request that our Democratic colleagues reaffirm this standing rule of the Senate which they have been happy to use themselves.

“If we’re going to truly replicate the 2001 agreement, we need to reaffirm this crucial part of the foundation that lay beneath it.

***

“Yesterday, I also shared a proposal for the pre-trial steps in the Senate impeachment process that appears to be headed our way.

“By Senate rules, if the article arrives, we must start a trial.

“This impeachment began with an unprecedentedly fast and minimal process in the House. The sequel cannot be an insufficient Senate process that denies former President Trump his due process or damages the Senate or the presidency itself.

“Senate Republicans strongly believe we need a full and fair process where the former President can mount a defense and the Senate can properly consider the factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake.

“For that reason, we suggested the House transmit its article next Thursday the 28th; but that’s apparently now going to be next Monday; that former President Trump’s answer and the House’s pre-trial brief I suggested be due on February 4th; and the former President’s pre-trial brief I suggested be due February 11th.

“That timeline would have provided the Senate some more floor time before we step fully into the unknown of a trial. Which, by the way, would have been a substantial benefit to the incoming administration and allowed them to get more of their cabinet confirmed, which we are cooperating as best we can to expedite.”

SOURCE Mitch McConnell

PHOTO CREDIT: Geoff Livingston

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