McConnell Proposes Impeachment Trial Schedule

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

McConnell proposes delaying impeachment trial until February so Trump legal team can prepare

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued the following statement today regarding his proposed timeline for the first phases of an impeachment trial:

“I have sent a proposed timeline for the first phases of the upcoming impeachment trial to Leader Schumer and look forward to continuing to discuss it with him.

“Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake. Given the unprecedented speed of the House’s process, our proposed timeline for the initial phases includes a modest and reasonable amount of additional time for both sides to assemble their arguments before the Senate would begin to hear them.

“At this time of strong political passions, Senate Republicans believe it is absolutely imperative that we do not allow a half-baked process to short-circuit the due process that former President Trump deserves or damage the Senate or the presidency.”

Background: Leader McConnell shared the following proposed pre-trial timeline with the Republican Conference today:

When the articles arrive, the House Managers would exhibit (read) the articles to the Senate, Senators would be sworn in the Members as the Court of Impeachment, and would issue a summons to former President Trump. While we do not know what day the Managers will choose, Leader McConnell has asked for this to occur on Thursday, January 28.

Former President Trump would have one week from that day to answer the articles of impeachment (February 4). The House’s pre-trial brief would also be due then.

The President would then have one week from the day he submits his answer to submit his pre-trial brief (February 11). That means former president Trump has fourteen total days from when we issue the summons to write his pre-trial brief. The House would also submit its replication on this date.

The House would then have two days to submit their rebuttal pre-trial brief (February 13).

This approach tracks the structure of the Clinton and Trump pre-trial processes. The periods between due dates are longer than in 1999 or 2020, but this is necessary because of the House’s unprecedented timeline.

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