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Politics McConnell courts GOP hard-liners, moderates and Trump as impeachment trial looms

02:55  15 january  2020
02:55  15 january  2020 Source:   politico.com

McConnell says he has enough Republican votes to begin Trump's trial without witnesses

  McConnell says he has enough Republican votes to begin Trump's trial without witnesses The process cannot get started until Nancy Pelosi sends the House-passed articles to the Senate."We have the votes once the impeachment trial has begun to pass a resolution — essentially the same as, very similar to, the 100-to-nothing vote in the Clinton trial," McConnell told reporters.

Trump also threw his support behind a move to actually reject the impeachment process without a trial , saying that absent such a dismissal, “it Following the Clinton precedent would defer any vote on hearing witnesses or reviewing new evidence until after the House managers and Trump ’s lawyers

MORE: Bolton emerges as impeachment trial wild-card, putting pressure on GOP to allow witnesses Schiff added that, without witnesses, McConnell could move to dismiss the impeachment case When asked if he would testify if subpoenaed, a move Trump and Republicans unhappy with how @realDonaldTrump: The Fake News Media and their Democrat Partners are working hard to

John Thune, Mitch McConnell are posing for a picture: For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Trump impeachment trial marks one of the most difficult balancing acts of his long tenure as GOP leader.© J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Trump impeachment trial marks one of the most difficult balancing acts of his long tenure as GOP leader.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to tack back-and-forth on perhaps the most contentious issue of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial — whether the Senate will allow new witnesses to testify in the case.

On Tuesday, the GOP leader quietly invited Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas, and Mike Lee of Utah to his office to discuss strategy, according to people familiar with the meeting.

McConnell tells Republicans he expects impeachment trial next week

  McConnell tells Republicans he expects impeachment trial next week He said he expects impeachment articles delivered as early as Friday.While senators and aides cautioned that McConnell does not have inside intelligence, the remarks serve as key scheduling advice for senators. Most Republicans are now gearing up for the relentless pace of the impeachment trial to start on Monday or Tuesday.

With Trump finally facing his impeachment trial , this promises to be a defining moment for both men, They started their relationship unevenly three years ago when Trump stunned Washington with his sweep to power but have since fallen into an easy partnership that will be put to its biggest test.

(Bloomberg) -- Democrats set the rules for their impeachment of Donald Trump , but once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kicks the process over to the Senate for a trial the advantage and leverage will be with the president and Republicans.Three years of political and legal drama

During the 30-minute session, Cruz pitched McConnell on the idea of witness reciprocity — if Democrats want to hear from former Trump national security adviser John Bolton on the Ukraine scandal, then Republicans get to hear from Hunter Biden. McConnell was open to that message, said a source familiar with the discussion. Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) later raised the strategy to the broader Senate GOP Conference.

Then shortly after, and echoing Cruz and Paul’s message, McConnell publicly warned Democrats that if they want to call additional witnesses during the proceedings, Republicans will counter with some of their own, and Democrats won’t like who’s on the GOP list.

“We’ll be dealing with the witness issue at the appropriate time into the trial,” McConnell told reporters. “And I think it’s certainly appropriate to point out that both sides would want to call witnesses if they wanted to hear from them. So if you get to that issue, I can’t imagine that only the witnesses our Democratic colleagues want to call will be called.”

Pelosi: Republicans 'have run out of excuses' to block impeachment trial witnesses after Bolton offer to testify

  Pelosi: Republicans 'have run out of excuses' to block impeachment trial witnesses after Bolton offer to testify Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hailed news that former national security adviser John Bolton said he would testify during President Trump's impeachment trial by urging Republicans to allow witnesses at the Senate-run event. © Provided by Washington Examiner"The President & Sen. McConnell have run out of excuses," the California Democrat tweeted Monday. "They must allow key witnesses to testify, and produce the documents Trump has blocked, so Americans can see the facts for themselves." She added, "The Senate cannot be complicit in the President's cover-up." The President & Sen. McConnell have run out of excuses.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump suggested that instead of holding a trial , the Senate should dismiss the House’s articles of impeachment that charge But he has also told advisers that he would follow Mr. McConnell ’s advice on the best way to proceed. Mr. McConnell has told colleagues that witnesses

The House voted to impeach Trump last month. Yet ending one showdown merely starts another McConnell is reluctant to enter a divisive Senate debate over witnesses that could split his party and Trump , Pelosi Taunt Each Other as Impeachment Trial Looms . President calls House Speaker

McConnell has previously appeared reluctant to call witnesses, but he’s also been careful not to rule them out either, particularly as he deals with a trio of moderate Republicans senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah — who are weighing whether they want to hear from Bolton or other witnesses later in the trial. A simple majority is required to win a motion; Republicans control 53 seats.

For McConnell, the Trump impeachment trial marks one of the most difficult balancing acts of his long tenure as GOP leader, with a half-dozen different variables weighing on the Kentucky Republican each time he walks to the floor.

McConnell has also played the issue in his usual way, keeping his plans secret until the very last minute in order not to tip his hand. McConnell hasn't even shown the entire resolution to govern the trial to his fellow Republicans, much less Democrats or the press.

McConnell signs on to bill to start Trump trial over Pelosi's objections

  McConnell signs on to bill to start Trump trial over Pelosi's objections Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signed onto a measure that would allow lawmakers to begin President Trump’s impeachment trial without receiving the articles House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is withholding. © Provided by Washington ExaminerMcConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is among more than one dozen Republicans who are co-sponsors of a measure authored by Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, authorizing the Senate to begin the trial as early as Monday, or 25 days after the House passed the impeachment articles on Dec. 19.

U.S. President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi taunted each other Sunday as Trump 's Senate impeachment trial looms in the The minority bloc of 47 Senate Democrats would need four Republican lawmakers to join them to override McConnell 's opposition to new witnesses

Senator Mitch McConnell , Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said this week that he had the votes to move forward with an impeachment trial Times have changed considerably since 1998, when the Republican-led House sent 13 white men to the Senate to serve as impeachment managers.

For McConnell, he has to deal with an angry president who dismisses the whole impeachment saga as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt;” moderate Republican senators anxious for the case to proceed with at least a patina of impartiality; GOP hard-liners who want to dismiss the charges outright or alternately call Joe and Hunter Biden as witnesses; a united Democratic caucus eager to score points at the Republicans’ expense; and constituents back home who want to see how McConnell delivers as he runs for reelection to a record seventh term in the Senate.

“He’s been around a long time. And he’s close to the vest,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of McConnell’s leadership team. “The thing he has on his radar screen is … 51 [votes]. Where can he get to 51, and no matter what his personal beliefs might be or how he feels about it? And I think that’s really the difficulty he has, trying to weave that.”

With a nod to his hold on at least 51 GOP votes, McConnell also told reporters that Senate Republicans will begin the impeachment proceedings without any Democratic involvement. Debate on the thorny issues of calling witnesses or introducing new documentary evidence will wait until after the House presents its case against Trump and the president’s defense team has a chance to respond. That delay buys McConnell crucial time to get his conference in order during the next two weeks.

McConnell says U.S. Senate to move forward unless House sends impeachment articles

  McConnell says U.S. Senate to move forward unless House sends impeachment articles The U.S. Senate will move forward with its own legislative agenda next week, unless it receives articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday. © Getty WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks on a piece of legislation proposed by the Democratic controlled House of Representatives, H.R. 1, that McConnell calls the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” during a press conference March 6, 2019 in Washington, DC.

With Trump finally facing his impeachment trial , this promises to be a defining moment for both The two sparred early in Trump 's presidency, most sharply when McConnell 's Senate GOP was unable But once the GOP leader muscled through the confirmations of Trump 's Supreme Court nominees

McConnell said the Senate would run through “housekeeping measures” later this week following acceptance of the articles of impeachment from the The impeachment allegations contend Trump abused the office of the presidency by pressing Ukraine to launch an investigation into Biden and that

“I announced that all 53 of us in our conference had agreed on an initial resolution to go forward. And that remains the case,” McConnell said at the news conference. “All 53 of us have reached an understanding very, very similar to one that was achieved at the beginning of the [Clinton] impeachment trial.”

A frustrated Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said McConnell, knowing he has the votes to go ahead with the trial rules of his choosing, won’t even talk to him about witnesses or anything else impeachment-related at this point.

“I asked [McConnell] four times to sit down so we could negotiate witnesses and documents,” Schumer complained on Tuesday. “He said ‘no’ each time. I’m always open to talking to him.”

In public and private, McConnell has talked about his frequent interactions with Trump — who has gone from once lambasting the majority leader on Twitter to offering nothing but praise for how the Kentucky Republicans runs the Senate.

White House Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland said Trump and McConnell have a “very strong” relationship.

“They have a lot of conversations, and I don’t think there’s any problem between the two of them in terms of how their being crisp and clear with each other on the various priorities each has pulling together this trial process,” he said.

Trump re-ups calls for Biden, Schiff testimony at impeachment trial

  Trump re-ups calls for Biden, Schiff testimony at impeachment trial The president’s remarks come after Trump huddled privately Wednesday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House.“I’m going to leave it to the Senate, but I’d like to hear the whistleblower, I’d like to hear ‘shifty’ Schiff, I’d like to hear Hunter Biden and Joe Biden,” Trump told reporters at a White House event.

The president injected new instability into his looming impeachment trial as Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that nothing could “erase” the stain on his WASHINGTON — President Trump on Sunday injected fresh instability into final preparations for the Senate’s impeachment trial , suggesting that

The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is likely to begin next Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. U.S. Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Rounds said McConnell ’s trial plan will guarantee votes on calling witnesses and hearing new evidence.

Trump has alternated between calling for outright dismissal of the impeachment articles to demanding testimony under oath from the Bidens, as well as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

“I personally think we’re legitimizing an illegitimate process. We ought to move immediately to dismissal,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who declined to comment on McConnell’s handling of the trial. “They denied [Trump] due process. And for that reason I don’t want to legitimize it.”

But McConnell made clear on Tuesday there’s “little to no sentiment” among Senate Republicans to dismiss the trial, showing the GOP leader is also trying to keep his most aggressive members in line as well.

The long-delayed start of the Trump trial crept closer as Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that the House will vote Wednesday to transmit the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate. The House charged Trump on Dec. 18 with abuse of power and obstructing congressional investigations following allegations that the president withheld military aid from Ukraine until that country announced it had opened an investigation into Biden, a top 2020 rival.

Pelosi has not announced which Democrats will serve as managers for the House impeachment case, although that is expected to happen Wednesday.

After the Senate receives the articles, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts — who will preside over the Trump trial — will swear senators in. McConnell has announced that the trial will begin in earnest next week with a vote on the rules package.

Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said portions of the organizing resolution “were still up in the air,” but both he and McConnell indicated there was little likelihood that a motion to dismiss the charges before the opening phase of the trial would be included.

Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), the number four Senate Republican, said McConnell is right to hold onto the trial resolution until next week, despite complaints from Democrats about kept being in the dark.

“If I was him, I certainly wouldn’t disclose it because then Nancy Pelosi could say ‘Oh now that I’ve seen the rules, I’m not gonna send these [articles] over.’ Why throw your hand in when you’ve won the game?”

Poll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator .
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has come under mounting pressure as President Trump's impeachment trial starts, is now the Senate's most unpopular member, displacing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in the rankings, according to a new tracking poll. © Greg Nash Poll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator A quarterly Morning Consult tracking poll finds that Collins's net approval rating has dropped 10 points in her state since the end of September, a sign of the intense fire she has taken from critics since the House launched its impeachment inquiry.

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