Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday said Senate Republicans may have to come together to pass a partisan set of rules for an impeachment trial if he cannot strike a deal with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
If the two fail to come to an agreement on a set of parameters for the impeachment trial, McConnell is likely to go to the Republican caucus to see who would vote alongside him, The Hill reported.
"It would depend on what we could agree to,” McConnell said in reference to a bipartisan deal. “That failing, I would probably come back to my own members and say, ‘OK, can 51 of us agree [on] how we’re going to handle this?’”
Here's where things get messy: the trial could last five to six weeks, depending on how much time the Senate gives House impeachment managers to make their case and the president's defense team to provide a rebuttal. But if McConnell and Schumer cannot come to a deal and the Majority Leader cannot find 51 Republicans in the conference to agree on a set of rules, a series votes on individual motions – from floor time to summoning witnesses – would take place.
“My assumption is once you heard the arguments on both sides, motions would be made. My suspicion is the chief justice would not want to rule on those. He would submit them to the Senate, and 51 of us would decide on a case-by-case basis how to go forward,” McConnell told reporters.
McConnell appeared skeptical of the Senate's ability to come together and establish a bi-partisan set of parameters should the House send over articles of impeachment. When President Bill Clinton faced impeachment proceedings in the 1990s, Senate leadership agreed to a set of rules and it passed the chamber 100-0.