(Headline USA) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday rejected a Democrat attempt to swiftly call the Senate into emergency session to hold an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, all but assuring that those proceedings won’t occur unless Democrats unconstitutionally do so after Trump leaves office.
The Senate is currently in recess and isn’t scheduled to return to hold a business session until Jan. 19, the day before Biden’s inauguration.
By law, the Senate can be summoned to return for an emergency session if the two party leaders, McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agree to do so.
Schumer has called for an emergency Senate meeting so it can remove Trump from office before his term expires, citing potential, unpredictable problems that Trump could cause.
A McConnell spokesman confirmed Wednesday that McConnell aides had told Schumer’s office that McConnell would not agree to an emergency session.
The spokesman offered no explanation of McConnell’s reasoning.
The Democrat-led House was moving Wednesday toward certain approval of an impeachment article accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, an unprecedented second impeachment of his presidency.
Trump exhorted his followers to march peacefully to the Capitol last Wednesday, where some disrupted Congress’s formal certification of Biden’s win.
It is unclear how many Republicans would vote to convict Trump in a Senate trial, but it appears plausible that several would do so. So far, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has said she wants Trump to resign and Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., has said he would “definitely consider” House impeachment articles.
Complicating GOP thinking about Trump’s second impeachment is the fact that Republicans will be defending 20 of the 34 Senate seats up for election in 2022.
Thanks to Democratic victories this month in two Georgia runoffs, Democrats are about to take control of the chamber by 50-50, with Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking votes.
Speaking out against impeachment Wednesday was Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. A once-bitter Trump foe, Graham became one of his closest allies during his presidency, then lambasted him over last week’s Capitol invasion but has since spent time with Trump.
Impeaching Trump now would “do great damage to the institutions of government and could invite further violence,” Graham said in a statement.
He said Trump’s millions of backers “should not be demonized because of the despicable actions of a seditious mob,” but he did not specifically defend Trump’s actions last week.
“If there was a time for America’s political leaders to bend a knee and ask for God’s counsel and guidance, it is now. The most important thing for leaders to do in times of crisis is to make things better, not worse,” Graham said.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.