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GOP leadership: Initial phase of impeachment trial could run two weeks

GOP leadership: Initial phase of impeachment trial could run two weeks
© Greg Nash
Two members of Senate Republican leadership say they think an initial phase of the impeachment trial — where both sides present their cases — could last approximately two weeks.
 
Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntFive takeaways from dramatic Capitol security hearing Biden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Pentagon prevented immediate response to mob, says Guard chief MORE (R-Mo.), the No. 4 Senate Republican, told reporters that it "sounded about right" to expect that allowing both the House managers and Trump's lawyers to present their arguments could take roughly a "working week" per side.
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"For them to present them their prima facie case, I would assume that's the right amount of time," he said when asked if he was saying he thought that portion of the trial would take roughly two weeks.
 
 
A two-week time frame would line up with an offer from Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate panel splits along party lines on Becerra House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade A Biden stumble on China? MORE (D-N.Y.) on the first phase of the Senate trial. 
 
Schumer, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks DOJ declined to take up Chao ethics probe Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC MORE (R-Ky.), proposed that the president's team and the House impeachment managers get 24 hours each for opening statements and rebuttals.
 
Senators, under Schumer's proposal, would then get 16 hours to ask questions. 
 
The time frame for the looming Senate trial, which will start in January, is expected to be a part of the negotiations between Schumer and McConnell as they try to come up with a bipartisan deal on the process. McConnell told GOP senators during a closed-door caucus lunch that he'll start talking with Schumer this week. 
 
It's what happens after both sides present their cases, namely if they call witnesses, that is still a looming question for senators as they gear up for a trial and would have an impact on the total length of the trial. Former President Clinton's impeachment trial ran for approximately five weeks.
 
Schumer, in his letter to McConnell, said he wants one resolution that would be passed at the outset of the trial that would govern both the proceeding rules and specific witnesses. 
 
But Republicans are indicating they will punt a decision on whether to call witnesses until after the trial has started. McConnell, during an interview with Fox News Radio, also said that he did not want witnesses to be called and warned that calling them would only drag out the proceeding. Fifty-one senators will effectively be able to decide on the floor whether to hear from witnesses. 
 
"The president's not going to be removed from office. The only issue is how long do we want to take to get the final decision. I think that we've heard enough. We're going to listen to arguments, but my view is it's time to vote and move on," McConnell said.