Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is James Barrett.
With the Democrat-controlled House charging full steam ahead toward the impeachment of President Trump, many have begun to look ahead to the potential response by the Republican-majority Senate and how "Cocaine Mitch
" McConnell might handle the politically precarious situation. Will McConnell simply change the rules and refuse to take up impeachment, or will he stick with precedent established over three decades ago and oversee the "rapid disposition" of an impeachment trial?
In an interview on Monday, McConnell squelched any speculation of attempts to sidestep impeachment by making clear that he would "have no choice" but to initiate the trial. The majority leader, however, also suggested that the trial might not give the media much time to hype it up.
"I would have no choice but to take it up,"
the press on Monday. "How long you're on it is a whole different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up, based on a Senate rule on impeachment."
"The Senate impeachment rules are very clear,"
the Kentucky senator added. "The Senate would have to take up an impeachment resolution if it came over from the House."
That Senate rules also require a two-thirds majority vote in support of impeachment. In other words, 67 Senators would need to vote in favor of impeaching the president for it to pass.
After gaining more ground in the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans now hold 53 seats in the Senate while Democrats hold just 45, with two Independents often aligning with the Democrats. That means a total of 20 Republicans would have to vote in favor of impeachment for it to go through.
In its coverage of McConnell's comments, The Washington Post
notes that "the two previous presidential impeachment trials - of Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999 - were led by a Republican-controlled Senate with a Democrat in the White House." As a senior Republican official told the outlet, "This is uncharted territory."
The precedent McConnell assured the public that he intends to keep should the House impeach Trump was spelled out in a 1986 memorandum sent by the Senate Parliamentarian to the Secretary of the Majority.
"[B]oth the rules and the precedents argue for a rapid disposition of any impeachment trial in the United States Senate,"
wrote Parliamentarian Robert Dove in the 1986 memo, as reported by Bloomberg
. The House "must immediately be informed that the Senate is ready to receive the managers 'whensoever the Senate shall receive notice' of an impeachment,"
On Monday, House Democrats took one of its more significant steps yet in its impeachment effort, subpoenaing Trump's personal lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
"The Committees are investigating the extent to which President Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters,"
sent by the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee reads.