Impeachment trial plans in disarray as US Congress heads home

Congress has headed home for the holidays leaving plans and a possible timeline for US President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in disarray.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted Thursday that Senate Republicans must provide details on witnesses and testimony before she would send over the charges for Trump’s trial. No deal, replied Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after meeting with his Senate Democratic counterpart.

“We remain at an impasse,” he said.

As darkness fell and lawmakers prepared to depart for the year, McConnell wondered from the Senate floor why in the world the Republicans should give ground to persuade House Democrats “to send us something we do not want.”

McConnell and the Democrats’ Senate leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, met for about 20 minutes in their first attempt to negotiate the contours of an agreement on running the rare Senate impeachment trial that was expected to start in January.

McConnell favors a swift trial, without the new witnesses Democrats want, and he holds a clear tactical advantage if he can keep his 53-member Senate majority united. Schumer, who also met privately with Pelosi, has to bet that GOP senators won’t hold the line and Republicans will peel away as public pressure mounts for a fuller trial.