Trump Impeachment: McConnell Says ‘Final Verdict’ Won’t Come Until Trump Leaves office

mcconnell impeachment timeline

Getty McConnell

What’s the timeline for an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate of President Donald Trump? On January 13, with 10 Republicans joining in, the U.S. House voted to impeach Trump – for a second time.

However, it’s the Senate that votes to convict on whether to remove Trump from office. Yet, current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear in a statement that a Senate verdict could not possibly come until after Joe Biden’s inauguration. There’s something else at stake, though. According to CNN, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, wants a second vote to ban Trump from ever holding office again.

Republicans are still in control of the Senate, for now at least, despite losing two Georgia runoff elections. Those victories would put the Senate at an even 50-50 split, but Vice President Kamala Harris would be a tiebreaker. However, one of those Republican senators is still in the Senate because the results have not yet been certified. They won’t be for at least another week. That gives McConnell the ability to prevent an impeachment trial before Biden takes office.

The House impeachment passed 232 to 197, and it charges Trump with “incitement of insurrection” over the Capitol riot. The way the impeachment process works is that the House votes to impeach, finding that the president has committed a “high crime or misdemeanor,” and the Senate then conducts a trial on whether to convict, removing the president from office. A two-thirds majority is needed to convict, meaning 17 Republicans must vote with Democrats. A simple majority would be needed to remove him from office if he’s convicted, according to CNN. According to CNN, the Senate can’t only vote on the running again ban without a successful impeachment conviction.

Here’s what you need to know:

McConnell Said ‘No Final Verdict Would Be Reached Until After President Trump Had Left Office’

GettySenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to reporters.

Here is McConnell’s full statement:

The House of Representatives has voted to impeach the President. The Senate process will now begin at our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House.

Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week. The Senate has held three presidential impeachment trials. They have lasted 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days respectively.

Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office. This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact. The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the ‘quickest’ path for any change in the occupant of the presidency.

In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration. I am grateful to the offices and institutions within the Capitol that are working around the clock, alongside federal and local law enforcement, to prepare for a safe and successful inauguration at the Capitol next Wednesday.”

Biden’s inauguration is on January 20.

Schumer Wants a Second Vote on Removing Trump From Office

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GettySenate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Schumer released a statement indicating he wants a second vote on preventing Trump from ever holding office. An impeachment conviction in the Senate would only remove Trump from office, which has little practical consequence beyond fact-finding and legacy/shame because he will already have left.

It would take a second vote to bar him from running for office again.

“A Senate trial can begin immediately, with agreement from the current Senate majority leader to reconvene the Senate for an emergency session, or it will begin after January 19,” Schumer said in a statement. “But make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again.”

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