Last night Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he’s definitely going to hold an impeachment trial if the House sends over articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. McConnell also stressed that he’ll hold th Senate impeachment trial six days a week, and that he expects the whole thing to be over with by Christmas. Uh, nice try.
For all we know, Mitch McConnell could end up being correct about the timeline – but if so, it won’t be by his choice. McConnell doesn’t get to decide when the Senate impeachment trial will end, because he doesn’t get to decide when it begins. That’s simply not how the process works.
Nancy Pelosi and the House will take as much or as little additional time as they feel they need in order to complete their portion of the impeachment process. Mitch McConnell and the Senate won’t get to start the impeachment trial until after the full House casts its final vote to approve the articles of impeachment. That’ll happen whenever Pelosi darn well pleases, and not before or after.
So what’s McConnell even talking about? He’s resigning himself to the fact that he’s going to have to hold an impeachment trial, and he’s trying to reassure his own people by vowing to get it over with as quickly as possible. But again, he has no control over when he gets to start the process.
It’s actually pretty easy to figure out what Mitch McConnell will do about Donald Trump’s impeachment. McConnell will do whatever he thinks is best for himself, his own Senate reelection campaign, and to a lesser degree the reelection prospects of his fellow Republican Senators. When the time comes, McConnell will make a calculation about whether he and his party are better off by saving or dunking Trump, and that’s what McConnell will have the Republican Senate do.
When it comes to his selfish self interest, Mitch McConnell is rather consistently predictable. It’s up to House Democrats to use their portion of the impeachment process to so thoroughly expose Donald Trump’s crimes, and to so thoroughly convince the American people that Trump should be ousted, that McConnell ends up concluding he has to take Trump down in order to save himself.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report