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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown McConnell calls Trump a 'fading brand' in Woodward-Costa book 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 PelosiOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda 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 TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe 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 CollinsCollins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff Graham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet Trump, allies launch onslaught as midterms kick into gear MORE (Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight 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.”