Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pledging that he’ll be in “total coordination” with the White House as he plots the GOP strategy for an impeachment trial.
McConnell, during an interview with Fox News, repeatedly pledged that he will be in sync with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, with whom he met privately on Thursday.
“Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this,” McConnell told Fox News on Thursday night.
McConnell added that he’ll be in “total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president in the well of the Senate.”
Pressed about the potential for witnesses during a Senate trial, McConnell demurred saying he would coordinate with Trump’s lawyers.
“The president’s counsel may or may not decide they want to have witnesses. The case is so darn weak coming over from the House,” McConnell continued.
Republicans have publicly floated a quick trial
where no witnesses are called by either the president’s team or House impeachment managers. McConnell, however, has not publicly backed a particular track.
“I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers. But yes, if you know you have the votes, you’ve listened to the arguments on both sides and believe the case is so slim, so weak that you have the votes to end it, that might be what the president’s lawyers would prefer,” McConnell added during the interview with Sean Hannity.
The Senate trial is expected to start in early January. Because McConnell has said Republicans will not try to dismiss the articles of impeachment, the Senate is expected to have to vote on whether to convict Trump. Sixty-seven votes would be required to convict Trump, and he’s expected to be acquitted.
McConnell has also not said how long a Senate trial will last, though he’s previously said he hopes it’s “not too lengthy a process.” Some Republicans had initially floated trying to drag out the Senate impeachment trial to try to keep the Democratic senators running for president stuck in Washington.
GOP senators are increasingly backing the idea of a relatively quick impeachment trial. McConnell said on Thursday that he hoped an impeachment trial would be a “shorter process rather than a lengthy process.”