Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) proposed a timeline on Thursday for the Senate to hold its second impeachment trial of now-former President Donald Trump. House Democrats and a handful of GOP members rushed through an eleventh-hour article of impeachment in a knee-jerk reaction to the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.
McConnell has proposed taking up the president's latest impeachment in February to give the former president time to mount a defense. McConnell said in a statement that he has sent the proposed timeline to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
McConnell is asking for the article of impeachment to arrive at the Senate on Thursday, January 28, at which time the article would be read before the Senate by House Managers. Former President Trump would have one week from that day, so Feb. 4, to answer the article against him, and the House's pre-trail brief would also be due on this day. Trump would have one week from then, till Feb. 11, to submit his pre-trial brief, and the House's replication would be due at the same time. Two days later, Feb. 13, the House's rebuttal pre-trial brief would be due.
While the periods between these dates are technically longer than the previous impeachments of Bill Clinton in 1999 and Trump in 2020, McConnell says the additional time is necessary due to the House's unprecedented timeline.
"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," McConnell said in a statement. "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," McConnell added.
A spokesman for Schumer acknowledged receipt of McConnell's proposal, saying, "We will review it and discuss it with him."