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Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks after a luncheon on Capitol Hill January 13, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial could begin as soon as next week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

McConnell, R-Ky., announced the tentative schedule just a few hours after Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed she will send the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate on Wednesday.

If that happens, McConnell said at a press event on Capitol Hill, then his chamber will be able to move the process forward this week by having Chief Justice John Roberts swear in, along with “some other kind of housekeeping measures.”

“We hope to be able to achieve that by consent, which would set us up to begin the actual trial next Tuesday,” McConnell said.

McConnell also reasserted that there was no desire in the Senate to vote to drop the impeachment charges against the president without hearing the arguments against him.

Pelosi decided to hand the two articles against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — over to the Senate after withholding them for weeks in a gambit to try and get assurances about how his Republican-led chamber will conduct the trial.

She and other top Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have loudly voiced concerns about whether Trump’s Senate trial will be legitimate. McConnell has been heavily criticized for saying last month that he is “not impartial” and is coordinating directly with Trump’s counsel ahead of the trial.

Schumer appealed McConnell directly to include four witnesses in the trial, including former national security advisor John Bolton and current acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

The White House had pressured those and other witnesses not to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry, claiming the proceedings were “baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process.”

Bolton said last week that he is willing to testify in the impeachment trial if the Senate subpoenas him to appear. But it’s unclear if the Senate, in which Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, has any appetite to do so.

On Wednesday, Pelosi is expected to hold a vote on a resolution that will transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate, as well as appropriate funds for the trial itself. The vote will also name the so-called impeachment managers, who are typically House members that serve as the prosecutors in the Senate trial.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.



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