Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is exploring whether the chamber can be called into an emergency session for a trial of President Donald Trump on an article of impeachment the House is set to approve this week, two senior aides said.
The Senate is currently in recess, and bringing senators back before Jan. 19 would require support from Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who remains majority leader at least until inauguration day. McConnell hasn’t said whether he would back impeaching the president or expediting a trial.
The House is poised to charge Trump with inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6th unless he resigns or is forced out of office by his cabinet. The article of impeachment the House will take up Wednesday seeks to both remove him from the presidency and prevent him from ever holding office again.
McConnell’s office had sent senators a memo saying it would take the backing of all 100 senators to return before Jan. 19 to consider impeachment. That memo said that if a single senator opposed expediting the trial, it not convene until an hour after Joe Biden is sworn in as president the following day.
Schumer’s exploration of an emergency session was first reported by the Washington Post.
A Senate impeachment trial starting Jan. 20 risks stalling confirmation of Biden’s cabinet and his early legislative initiatives, including a new round of economic stimulus. Some Democrats, including House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, have proposed that the House hold the impeachment article for 100 days or more to avoid interfering with the start of Biden’s administration.
Trump’s impeachment trial early last year, which ended with his acquittal, lasted almost three weeks.
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