McConnell: House impeachment resolution 'falls way short'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes bill to give flexibility for small business coronavirus aid program On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday knocked a House resolution outlining the lower chamber’s impeachment inquiry of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE, signaling Republicans are unlikely to drop the process criticism that has been a key part of their strategy.

“They have denied President Trump basic due process and are cutting his counsel out of the process in an unprecedented way. House Democrats' new resolution does not change any of that,” McConnell said.

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“The draft resolution that has been released does nothing of the sort. It falls way short, way short,” he added.

His remarks come after House Democrats unveiled their resolution on Tuesday night. 

The resolution, which could be voted on as soon as this week, sets up procedures for open hearings by the House Intelligence Committee and releasing witness testimony.

It also allows Republicans to request witness testimony and documents, similar to previous impeachment inquiries. But Democrats on the Intelligence panel still have the ability to block the requests.

The House Judiciary Committee also released a set of procedures for its impeachment hearings pursuant to the resolution. The procedures allow the president and his counsel to attend hearings, question witnesses and provide evidence.

But the resolution is unlikely to satisfy Senate Republicans, who have made criticism of the process around the House impeachment inquiry a key part of their strategy.

“It does not confer on President Trump the most basic rights of due process or seemingly alter Chairman Schiff's unfair process in the House Intelligence Committee in any way whatsoever,” McConnell said on Wednesday, referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFlynn urged Russian diplomat to have 'reciprocal' response to Obama sanctions, new transcripts show The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers MORE (D-Calif.).

McConnell argued that Democrats are giving “no due process now, maybe some later. But only if we feel like it is not a standard that should ever be applied to any American and it should not be applied here to the president of the United States.”

Fifty Senate Republicans have signed on to a resolution condemning the House impeachment process.

The upper chamber's resolution was sent to the Senate Rules Committee, which is overseen by Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntCalls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Washington prepares for a summer without interns GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Mo.). Neither Blunt nor McConnell has committed to taking the resolution up, instead saying earlier this week that they were waiting to see what Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi scoffs at comparison between Trump and Churchill: 'I think they're hallucinating' Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump Pelosi joins protests against George Floyd's death outside Capitol MORE (D-Calif.) does in the House.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on police brutality next week McCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony MORE (R-S.C.), who spearheaded the upper chamber's resolution, called the House process “substandard” on Wednesday.

“They’re trying to create something new that I think is just substandard and dangerous to the presidency,” Graham said.