President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive for the College Football Playoff National Championship game between LSU and Clemson, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Could Trump’s impeachment trial only last two weeks?
That’s the word coming out of Mitch McConnell’s camp, as he looks to avoid anymore game playing. This is likely in response to the 11th hour gambit by Democrats to throw Lev Parnas and the GAO decision (which is irrelevant to impeachment, see my article here for proof) into the mix.
This per Politico.
Senate GOP leaders are weighing accelerating the pace of the trial, eyeing a schedule that would maintain the same overall number of hours for opening arguments and senatorial questions as employed in Clinton’s case, but spreading it out over fewer days, according to six people familiar with internal deliberations.
If each side used all its debate time, that could mean fewer calendar days for the trial and a faster verdict. Clinton’s trial ran for five weeks, with opening arguments starting a week after it formally began. Trump’s could be far shorter.
In their partisan opening resolution, Republicans are considering providing 24 hours of opening arguments to both the House impeachment managers and the White House counsel. If each team wants to use the full amount of hours, they may have to do so over as few as two days, potentially leading to long trial days.
The key here is that McConnell isn’t going to break the Clinton precedent, giving Democrats an opening to scream bloody murder and blow up the process. Instead, Senate leadership wants to simply compress the timeline over which the same amount of activities take place. This could take the trial from five weeks to just two weeks in length.
Of course, Democrats are going to cry foul anyway.
A Democratic aide working on the impeachment inquiry objected to the possible plan to squeeze arguments and senators’ questioning into fewer days, citing McConnell’s vow to mirror the Clinton impeachment trial procedures. The aide also said the House team would publicly protest if the plan is implemented.
It must present an absolute horror to these people that they might actually have to work consecutive 12 hour days.
Welcome to the real world. There is no reason to drag this out, allowing Democrats to slow roll “bombshells” and generally try to Kavanaugh the process further. McConnell’s strategy to make the House present its case in a timely manner is the right one. Let them cry about it. It really doesn’t matter at this point and this also allows the vote to acquit to take place before the SOTU. Nancy Pelosi tried to play games by scheduling it during a time she figured the impeachment trial would still be going on. This is McConnell’s way of pushing back, and rightfully so.
There is one thing that could blow this up though. That’d be Mitt Romney and the gang insisting on continuing the investigation by calling more witnesses. That’s undoubtedly going happen and it could lead to anything. If it’s just John Bolton, it may not matter, but if they fold to Schiff’s cabal so hard that they start allowing non-credible clowns like Lev Parnas as well, things are going to drag on.
McConnell needs to rule with an iron fist here and make clear that he’s not going to allow this trial to turn into a circus that plays into Democrat hands. If that means playing hardball with the likes of Romney, then do it.