Mitch McConnell's Senate memo shows how difficult a swift Trump impeachment trial would be

Barring a consensus in the current Senate, trying Trump while he's still in office looks unlikely

By Meaghan Ellis
January 9, 2021 3:15PM (UTC)
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Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

President Donald Trump's "Save America" rally led to complete chaos on Capitol Hill putting lawmakers' lives in danger as they attempted to do their jobs to complete the Electoral College certification. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the rest of the Senate Republicans still appear to be hesitant to move forward with a second impeachment of the president.

On Friday, Jan.8, McConnell released a memo obtained by The Washington Post that reiterated the Senate's adjournment until Jan.19, seemingly dismissing the possibility of holding a special Congressional session. The Kentucky lawmaker also emphasized that a total of 100 senators would have to agree to pro forma sessions prior to their return on Jan. 19.

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"Again, 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, and therefore the consent of all 100 Senators to begin acting on any articles of impeachment during those sessions," McConnell reiterated.

While the Senate does have two pro forma sessions scheduled for Jan. 12 and Jan. 15, the problem is they have no authority to conduct "any kind of business during those days — including "beginning to act on received articles of impeachment from the House" if all 100 senators consent with moving forward.

Based on the Electoral College certification proceedings on Jan. 6, there is a high likelihood that there are several pro-Trump senators who will oppose the idea of moving forward with impeachment despite the president's actions which put their lives in danger.

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In fact, on Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took to Twitter with a relatively warped perspective on all that has occurred as he criticized President-elect Joe Biden for his rebuke of those who participated in the disturbing siege on the U.S. Capitol.

"Really sad," he tweeted, "At a time of deep national division, President-elect Biden's choice to call his political opponents literal Nazis does nothing to bring us together or promote healing. This kind of vicious partisan rhetoric only tears our country apart."

Cruz's remarks are a clear example of how Republicans are continuing to miss the mark. However, Democratic lawmakers are fighting to move forward with Trump's impeachment to make a strong statement: no one is above the law. Leading an insurrection on the U.S. government will not be tolerated.


Meaghan Ellis

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