Trump impeachment trial likely during Biden presidency as McConnell refuses to reconvene Senate early

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wears a face mask as he participates in a mock swearing-in for the 117th Congress with Vice President Mike Pence in the Old Senate Chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 3, 2021.

Kevin Dietsch | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial will likely drag into President-elect Joe Biden’s term as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not bring the upper chamber back earlier than Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Kentucky Republican confirmed his office informed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that McConnell would not reconvene the Senate before Tuesday, the day before Biden’s inauguration. Schumer had urged his GOP counterpart to use emergency powers to swiftly hold a trial and vote on whether to convict Trump and remove him from office.

The House will vote Wednesday to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol last week while Congress counted Biden’s electoral win. While Democrats said they had to impeach Trump to hold him accountable for the violent riot, they worried a Senate trial in the early days of Biden’s administration would hamstring confirmation of Cabinet members and passage of a coronavirus relief package.

Schumer will become the majority leader after the two Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in, which is expected to happen before the end of the month. The House took extraordinary steps to rush an impeachment article to the floor Wednesday, but it is unclear whether a McConnell-led Senate would take any additional steps to expedite the process.

The Senate trial after the House first impeached Trump took nearly three weeks, from mid-January until early February of last year.

The timeline makes it unlikely Congress will remove Trump from office before Biden’s inauguration a week from Wednesday. However, a Senate vote to convict Trump would prevent him from becoming president again in 2025.

The Washington Post first reported that McConnell would not bring the Senate back early.

If the Senate would vote on whether to convict Trump before control changes hands, all 48 Democrats and 18 Republicans would need to support the measure. If the Senate considered impeachment after Democrats take control, all 50 members of the party plus 17 Republicans would need to back conviction.

The New York Times reported that McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable acts. However, he has not commented on whether he would vote to convict Trump if impeachment came to the Senate.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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