McConnell: We'll see if Pelosi's impeachment rules resolution 'passes the smell test'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' House to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power Republican lawyers brush off Trump's election comments MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he has not decided whether to hold a floor vote on a resolution condemning the House impeachment process, adding that he is waiting to see the Democrats' plan for proceeding with the inquiry.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Overnight Health Care: New wave of COVID-19 cases builds in US | Florida to lift all coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars | Trump stirs questions with 0 drug coupon plan Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Calif.) is slated to outline her plan for proceeding on impeachment later Tuesday. It is expected to include a vote to formally launch the process and give Republicans and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE's legal team more power to participate.


“We’ll have to take a look at what the House produces later today and see if it passes the smell test of providing the kind of due process protections that the president and his team are certainly entitled to, just like President Nixon was and President Clinton was,” McConnell told reporters.

A separate Senate GOP resolution condemning the House impeachment process has 50 Republican co-sponsors, including McConnell. Three GOP senators — Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Poll: 57 percent of Americans think next president, Senate should fill Ginsburg vacancy On The Trail: Making sense of this week's polling tsunami MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Overnight Energy: Trump officials finalize plan to open up protected areas of Tongass to logging | Feds say offshore testing for oil can proceed despite drilling moratorium | Dems question EPA's postponement of inequality training Poll: 57 percent of Americans think next president, Senate should fill Ginsburg vacancy MORE (Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCrenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election Trump dumbfounds GOP with latest unforced error MORE (Utah) — have not signed on, meaning Vice President Pence might have to cast the tiebreaking vote if the resolution comes to the floor.

McConnell was noncommittal when asked if the Senate will vote on that measure.

“We haven’t made a decision on that yet,” McConnell told reporters, adding that “the next step” will be “to take a look and see whether the House is now going” to “try to handle this in a more transparent way that meets basic standards of due process that every American would be entitled to.”

Asked if he viewed the House impeachment inquiry as illegitimate, McConnell responded, “Impeachment, as a practical matter, is whatever a majority of the House decides it is at any given moment.”

McConnell was pressed by reporters on how Republicans can consider themselves impartial jurors in a Senate trial considering articles of impeachment passed by the House if they back a resolution condemning the House process.

“The resolution is about due process,” McConnell responded, saying it was “critical” in pressuring Pelosi and House Democrats to promise a formal vote that would allow House Republican lawmakers to subpoena witnesses and Trump’s defense team to cross-examine witnesses.

The GOP leader said Democrats, emboldened by their new majority after the 2018 midterm elections, “have been on this path for three years.”

“The first headline I saw, I think it was in The Washington Post before the president was sworn in, was the impeachment process was beginning,” he said. “This is just further evidence that this was what they had in mind from the very beginning.”