McConnell Doing To Impeachment What He Did To Garland

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) answers questions during a press conference following a weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol on December 3, 2019. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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January 20, 2020 6:43 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution establishing the rules of the road for the impeachment trial is just out, and it’s a doozy.

 

Three key points:

  1. The Senate is not going to automatically enter the House evidence into the trial record. A senior Republican leadership aide concedes this is a different provision from the Clinton impeachment proceeding because “the White House was denied due process throughout the 12 weeks of partisan House proceedings.”
  2. After the period for senators’ questions, the Senate will hold an up or down vote on whether to even allow witness subpoenas. If witnesses and document subpoenas are allowed, then the two sides may make motions to issue subpoenas which will also be subject to Senate votes. So that first hurdle will be a key one.
  3. McConnell is shortening the time in which opening arguments may be given to two Senate days per side. The amount of time remains the same as the Clinton impeachment but constricted to a narrower window, forcing either long days or an abbreviated argument.

Senate Democrats are already understandably howling. Remember McConnell’s assurances to model the Trump impeachment on Clinton’s? Except where it doesn’t suit him.

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