Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reportedly will not reconvene the Senate in time to hold President Trump’s impeachment trial before Joe Biden takes office.
The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips argued on Wednesday that McConnel could do “maximum damage” to Trump right now by bringing the Senate in session to hold the impeachment trial.
A trial is a necessary step to convict Trump and would kick him out of office before he leaves Jan. 20. It would require a two-thirds majority in the Senate, which would manifest as a strong bipartisan rebuke of him and his actions. It would be an even stronger signal if it was the Republican-controlled Senate launching this trial in his final days in office.
For those reasons, holding a Senate trial in the coming days would be an undeniable humiliation for the president, one that casts a pall on his future political ambitions. (If they were to convict him, the Senate could also take a vote to bar him from ever holding office again. That requires just a majority.)
Phillips noted that a senior White House adviser indicated to CNN that this is how the Trump team perceives the situation as well:
This adviser said the current thinking is the Senate does not have enough time to convict Trump before he leaves office, so the president can make it to the end of his term without that kind of humiliation.
“We will get through the 20th and move on,” the adviser said.
“A trial taking place after Jan. 20 could let Trump say, accurately, that he got impeached by a Democratic-controlled Congress, even if 17 Senate Republicans join in to convict him,” Phillips wrote.
By refusing to reconvene the Senate, McConnell is sparing Trump this added humiliation.
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