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McConnell: House impeachment resolution 'falls way short'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday knocked a House resolution outlining the lower chamber’s impeachment inquiry of President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 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 SchiffGreenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox Hillicon Valley: DOJ accuses Russian hackers of targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections | Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats | House Democrats slam FCC over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats 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 BluntPower players play chess match on COVID-19 aid GOP to Trump: Focus on policy Low-flying helicopters to measure radiation levels in DC before inauguration 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 PelosiTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (D-Calif.) does in the House.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Lou Dobbs goes after Lindsey Graham: 'I don't know why anyone' would vote for him  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.