Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) will not reconvene the Senate before Tuesday, meaning that an impeachment trial against President Trump will take place after Joe Biden assumes office.
While Democrats are pushing to impeach and even remove Trump less than a week before he leaves the presidency, a McConnell aide confirmed to reporters that the Senate would not reconvene before January 19, one day before Biden’s inauguration. Senate Republican leadership was previously considering reconvening on an emergency basis on Friday to hold the impeachment trial before Trump left office.
Thus, the trial will take place with a Senate tied 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, and will be presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts.
McConnell also told colleagues Wednesday that he had not reached a decision regarding his impeachment vote, despite a New York Times report suggesting that he supported conviction.
“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell told Senate Republicans, according to Fox News.
Several House Republicans are expected to vote for impeachment, including Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking caucus member. It is unclear how many GOP senators would support impeachment. McConnell himself is reportedly supportive of efforts to impeach the president, viewing the process as an opportunity to purge Trump from the Republican Party, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Democrats began their impeachment push after Trump incited a mob of his supporters to amass outside the Capitol on January 6, claiming the election was “stolen” by Democrats. The mob breached the Capitol, forced lawmakers to evacuate, and injured dozens of police officers, including one who later died of his injuries.
House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) condemned the impeachment push on Wednesday, but blamed Trump for the riots.
“Some say the riots were caused by Antifa. There is absolutely no evidence of that. And conservatives should be the first to say so,” McCarthy said on the House floor. “The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”