Senate

McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that he hopes the Senate is able to finish a likely impeachment trial after "not too lengthy a process." 

 

McConnell's comments come after he's been tight-lipped on the details of a Trump impeachment trial, except to say he expects there to be one. 

 

Asked on Tuesday about which potential witnesses he would like to see testify, the GOP leader added that it was "way too early" to settle on how the impeachment trial will be handled in the Senate. 

 

"A number of democratic senators are running for president. I'm sure they're gonna be excited to be here in their chairs not being able to say anything during the pendency of this trial. So hopefully we'll work our way through it and finish it and not too lengthy a process," McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference.

 

How long a Senate impeachment trial would last has become a rolling point of discussion among lawmakers as they await the outcome of the House's investigation into whether Trump tied Ukraine aid to the country opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. 

 

Senators expect that the House would vote on impeachment articles by Christmas, though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has refused to rule out that the impeachment inquiry could drag into 2020. 

 

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) raised the prospect of a six- to eight-week impeachment trial during an event in North Carolina earlier this month. 

 

But that drew quick backlash from GOP senators who noted that would be longer than the Clinton impeachment trial, which McConnell has repeatedly referred to when fielding questions from reporters about what a Trump trial could look like. The Clinton trial started on Jan. 7 and wrapped on Feb. 13. 

 

"It doesn't sound like there's going to be much they're going to give us, so I think a week is more than enough time to get all that adjudicated, get it out there and exposed, and be done with this," said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). 

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) added, "I doubt if a trial would last that long."

Some Republicans have also floated the idea of quickly dismissing any articles of impeachment the House sends over. 

 

But McConnell told reporters last week that he expects there to be a trial. 

 

"My own view is that we should give people an opportunity to put the case on. ... On the issue of how long it goes on, it's really kind of up to the Senate. People will have to conclude, are they learning something new? At some point, we'll get to an end," McConnell said at the time. 

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