WASHINGTON (CN) — The article of impeachment outlining former President Trump’s incitement of an insurrectionist mob to storm the U.S. Capitol is heading to the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday.
“Now I’ve heard some of my Republican colleagues argue that this trial would be unconstitutional because Donald Trump is no longer in office,” Schumer said. “An argument that has been roundly repudiated, debunked, by hundreds of constitutional scholars – left, right and center – and defies basic common sense.”
Saying the House will deliver the article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate on Monday, the New York Democrat left little doubt that the body would force a vote on the issue.
“It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country and then be permitted to resign, so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office,” the New York Democrat said. “It makes no sense. Regardless the purveyors of this unusual argument are trying to delay the inevitable.”
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected the need for the body to impeach Trump now that he’s become a civilian, saying he had shared with Democratic leadership what pretrial functions of the Senate might look like Thursday. Rules of the Senate dictate an impeachment trial must begin the moment articles arrive in the chamber, McConnell noted.
“This impeachment began with an unprecedently fast and minimal process over in the House,” McConnell said. “The sequel cannot be an insufficient Senate process that denies former president Trump his due process or damages the Senate or the presidency itself.”
McConnell continued by saying Republicans were in support of a “full and fair” process where Trump is afforded an adequate defense of his Jan. 6 comments, stoking supporters before an armed mob of his followers laid siege to the seat of the U.S. government for several hours. Senators must also be allowed to properly consider the constitutional questions presented in the trial, the Kentucky Republican said.
McConnell said the GOP was ready to suggest a schedule where the articles would be transferred to the chamber next Thursday, the House’s response due by Feb. 4, and the former president’s brief due by Feb. 11.
“Which by the way, would have been a substantial benefit to the incoming administration and allowed them to get more of their cabinet confirmed, which we are cooperating as best we can to expedite,” McConnell said.
House leadership, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have kept their impeachment play close to the chest — Trump became the first U.S. president ever impeached twice last Wednesday, and President Joe Biden was inaugurated this Wednesday.
Pelosi told reporters yesterday it was only a matter of time until the House sent over its sole impeachment article, noting the responsibility of Congress to protect the Constitution. Republicans from both chambers have been vocal that another impeachment trial would only sow further discord between Americans and other elected officials.