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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Louisiana Republican: People upset at 'spending porn on pet projects' in latest stimulus bill Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner 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 PelosiMnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Graham: Pelosi comment on Trump is 'most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history' The coronavirus pandemic versus the climate change emergency 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 TrumpHealth insurers Cigna, Humana waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment Puerto Rico needs more federal help to combat COVID-19 Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision' 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 CollinsGOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP senators urge Saudi Arabia to leave OPEC Schumer: Senate should 'explore' remote voting if coronavirus sparks lengthy break Turning the virus into a virtue — for the planet MORE (Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt Romney7 things to know about the coronavirus stimulus package Scarborough rips Trump for mocking Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'Could have been a death sentence' Trump on Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'I am so happy I can barely speak' 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.”