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McConnell won't agree to reconvene Senate early for impeachment trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE’s (R-Ky.) office told Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerNRSC chair says he'll back GOP incumbents against Trump primary challengers Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader US Chamber of Commerce to Biden, Congress: Business community 'ready to help' MORE’s (D-N.Y.) staff on Wednesday that the GOP will not agree to reconvene the Senate before Jan. 19 to allow an impeachment trial while President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE is still in office.

A senior Senate Republican aide confirmed that McConnell’s office reached out to Schumer’s office to relay the message that Republicans will not agree to a Friday session to enable House Democrats to present an article of impeachment to the Senate while Trump is in office.

McConnell said in a memo circulated to colleagues last week that the Senate will not be able to handle business on the floor until senators are scheduled to return to Washington on Jan. 19 unless all 100 senators agree to reconvene sooner.

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The memo stated that unless there is unanimous consent from senators, Trump’s impeachment trial would not be allowed to begin until 1 p.m. on Jan. 20, at which time Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE will have been sworn in as president. 

“It would require the consent of all 100 senators to conduct any business of any kind during the scheduled pro forma sessions prior to January 19,” the memo states.

“The Senate trial would therefor begin after President Trump’s term has expired — either one hour after its expiration on Jan. 20 or twenty-five hours after its expiration on Jan. 21,” it states.

Schumer on Tuesday disputed that claim and said that he and McConnell could agree to reconvene the Senate in an emergency session in the next few days.

He says that legislation passed in 2004 allows the Senate majority and minority leaders to reconvene the Senate at any time to respond to emergencies.

“There was legislation passed in 2004 that allows the Senate minority and majority leader to jointly reconvene the Senate in times of emergency. This is a time of emergency,” Schumer said.

“I’ve asked him to call the Senate back — all he needs is my agreement, I’m still minority leader,” he said.