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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties 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 PelosiHouse Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills 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 TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE's legal team more power to participate.

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“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 CollinsGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days Lawmakers call for investigation into program meant to help student loan borrowers with disabilities MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days The Hill's Morning Report - Dem impeachment report highlights phone records Republicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members MORE (Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyStatesmen seek bipartisan solutions to big challenges Georgia ready for unpredictable Senate race Impeachment can't wait 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.”