Senate Preparing for Trump Impeachment Trial

U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a discussion at the Generation Next forum in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, March 22, 2018. Trump today took his boldest step to level the economic playing field with China, ordering sweeping tariffs on Chinese goods in a move that could escalate already tense trade relations between the worldÕs two biggest economies. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg


With an impeachment vote against the president by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives almost a sure thing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing for his trial. On Tuesday he said the first step would be to see if he could cobble together some sort of bipartisan agreement on procedure with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Barring that, McConnell said he would let his Republican conference set the rules. If that doesn’t happen, then the third option would come into play: Let the House members make their case for impeaching the president before the entire Senate, with rebuttal provided by Trump’s lawyers. Then the Senate, vote by vote, would determine the next step to take.

The process could take months.

Or it could end with that first vote.

Much depends upon the Senate majority leader, to whom the Constitution has given much power in such a case. As Jessica Levinson of NBC News noted, “The Constitution does not give us a specific road map for conducting that trial. Instead, the Senate has the power to implement its own rules and procedures. Hence, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has enormous power to shape the trial and try to ensure a desired outcome.”