McConnell predicts Trump will beat impeachment: 'I'm pretty sure how it's likely to end'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Overnight Health Care: Trump calls report on hospital shortages 'another fake dossier' | Trump weighs freezing funding to WHO | NY sees another 731 deaths | States battle for supplies | McConnell, Schumer headed for clash Phase-four virus relief hits a wall MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday predicted the Senate would acquit President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE on any articles of impeachment passed by the Democratic-controlled House.

“How long it goes on really just depends on how long the Senate wants to spend on it,” McConnell told reporters when asked about the Senate trial procedures.

“I will say I’m pretty sure how it’s likely to end. If it were today, I don’t think there’s any question it would not lead to a removal,” he said.

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“So the question is how long the Senate wants to take. How long do the presidential candidates want to be here on the floor of the Senate instead of Iowa and New Hampshire?” he said. 

“It’s very difficult to ascertain how long this takes. I’d be surprised if it didn’t end the way the two previous ones did, with the president not being removed from office,” he added in apparent reference to former Presidents Clinton and Nixon. 

While the Senate failed to convict Clinton on articles of impeachment, with no charge winning a majority vote, Nixon resigned from office in 1974 before the Senate could hold a trial.

McConnell said the Senate trial could go on for weeks, noting that he and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHealth care workers account for 20 percent of Iowa coronavirus cases Pressure mounts on Congress for quick action with next coronavirus bill Schumer names coronavirus czar candidates in plea to White House MORE (D-N.Y.) are likely to use the 1999 Clinton trial as a template for setting the parameters.

“At some point Sen. Schumer and I will sit down and see if we can agree on a process,” he said. “After that the chief justice rules on any motions. Presumably what you will see in the well would be the prosecutors would come over from the House — they’ve typically been Judiciary Committee people — and the president’s lawyer, and they put on the case,” he said.

McConnell noted that senators will not be allowed to speak on the floor during the Senate impeachment trial. 

“How long it goes on is undetermined,” he said, noting that the Clinton impeachment trial lasted weeks.

"But that’s up to the Senate to decide how long. So this is not something the majority can micromanage like it can on almost every other issue," McConnell added. 

If the House acts, McConnell said, “We’ll take a look at what the agreement was 20 years ago as a starting place and discuss how we may be able to agree to handle the process,” referring to S.R. 16, which was negotiated in January 1999 between then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). 

That resolution gave the House impeachment prosecutors 24 hours to make their case against the president and the president’s defense team another 24 hours to offer its rebuttal.

Under that resolution, senators were allowed to question the parties for 16 hours, but they had to submit their questions to the desk, at which then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist was presiding.