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The Senate will take no action on House Democrats’ effort to re-impeach President Trump until after he is out of office — making next week’s possible vote on the question moot before it even begins.
Under a timeline issued Friday to Senate colleagues, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said any House resolution on the matter could not be transmitted to the upper chamber until Jan. 19, based on the body’s current calendar.
House impeachment managers could present their case — which would accuse Trump of “inciting an insurrection” at the Capitol on Wednesday — to the assembled Senate that same day, McConnell’s memo noted.
But under existing impeachment rules, debate and votes could not begin until 1 p.m. the next day after — making the earliest possible moment for an impeachment vote one hour after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office at noon on Jan. 20.
“The Senate trial would therefore begin after President Trump’s term has expired,” McConnell wrote, according to the Washington Post.
With the 50-50 Senate still in Republican hands until Jan. 20, when Kamala Harris becomes vice president and gives the Democrats the majority, it would take a unanimous vote of all 100 senators to override McConnell’s calendar — a remote possibility.
A post-term impeachment trial for a former president would be a historical first, as would a second impeachment trial.
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