Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues in the upper chamber appear to be planning for countermeasures should Democrats attempt to extend the duration of the impeachment trial beyond what’s considered necessary.
According to Fox News, McConnell is on the verge of passing a rule that would establish a type of “kill switch” that would allow President Donald Trump’s legal team to move to immediately dismiss the impeachment trial if the Democratic House Managers make an attempt to turn the trial into something it shouldn’t be.
The option comes on the heels of the ongoing debate on whether or not witnesses should be called by either side during the trial and, if they are called, how many each side would be able to call. Sen. Ted Cruz suggested over the weekend that if Democrats get their way, the trial could be extended “to six to eight weeks or even longer,” which is clearly something the president, his legal team and presumably his Republican allies in the Senate are actively trying to avoid.
A resolution will be voted on during the opening of the trial on Tuesday that establishes rules and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley said he would be “very, very surprised,” if McConnell didn’t implement some type of “kill switch” countermeasure in his rules proposal.
The move to add such an option has seemingly garnered support from a number of Republican senators who believe Trump’s legal team should be able to make the move if it’s deemed necessary.
Hawley doubled down on his warning that the trial could spin out of control, saying that the president “deserves the right during Senate trial to ask for a verdict or move to dismiss – otherwise trial will become endless circus run by Adam Schiff.”
House Democrats familiar with the impeachment process reportedly told Fox News that they were frustrated by the fact that McConnell hasn’t yet released a preview of what the upcoming impeachment trial rules will look like.
“The House managers have absolutely no idea what the structure of the trial two days before the trial begins,” the unnamed source reportedly told the network.
As previously reported by Daily Sounder, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz claimed over the weekend that his argument to dismiss the impeachment articles facing Trump is strong enough that there will not even be a need for witnesses.
The Senate impeachment trial will begin on Tuesday, January 21.