Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has requested that the Senate give Donald Trump’s legal team two weeks to prepare for his impeachment trial.
McConnell’s proposal brings doubt to when Trump’s trial will begin following the Senate receiving the article of impeachment. He would like it to begin in mid-February, CNN reports.
McConnell said his proposal to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has not received a response, “but we continue to talk about it.”
The two are in the works of getting President Joe Biden’s nominees confirmed and the Senate’s power-sharing agreement completed, a source close to the matter told the outlet.
There hasn’t been a confirmed objection to delaying the trial considering many want to get a deal to lock in votes on Cabinet nominees and a finalized deal of the power-sharing agreement that allows committees in the Senate to organize.
Without the finalization f the resolution of power-sharing, the GOP will remain in control of the committees—this gives McConnell leverage. McConnell would like to delay the trial, so ceremonial functions can go forwards—like the formal reading of the impeachment article, which would likely occur next Thursday, January 28.
Trump would have a week to prepare for trial and answer the article by February 4. The following week his legal team could file a pre-trial order.
The House would also be able to file briefs over the time period before the trials start in mid-February.
Nonetheless, McConnell is in no rush to start proceedings, adding that the Senate needs time to catch up to the House’s hasty impeachment.
“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 said in a statement.
Still, the Democrats have the final say so on when the trial starts, but they may be in agreeance to delay it since it would allow the Senate a chance to get more of Biden’s nominees in the door.
“I think Democrats will be open to considering a delay that allows former President Trump time to assemble his legal team and his defense for the impeachment trial if we are making progress on confirming” Biden’s nominees, Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.”
“We received Leader McConnell’s proposal that only deals with pre-trial motions late this afternoon. We will review it and discuss it with him,” Justin Goodman, spokesman for Schumer, said on Thursday.
“They have now informed us they are ready to receive, the question is other questions about how a trial will proceed, but we are ready,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of the Senate. She also said that the House is “ready” to start trial but would wait until Senate is better positioned to handle a full trial before formally transmitting the impeachment article.
As for Biden, he would like Congress to “focus on a Covid package simultaneously.”
Trump will likely be represented by South Carolina Republican attorney Sen. Lindsey Graham and attorney Butch Bowers.
His campaign spokesman, Jason Miller, confirmed Bowers would represent Trump at trial.
“They didn’t present any evidence in the House, so I don’t know if you can present evidence in the Senate that you didn’t present — I guess you could –, but we’ll make our own decisions about did the President go too far, was this incitement under the law, what’s the right outcome there? So it should be a quick trial really, quite frankly,” Graham said.