Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is plotting to shut out Democrats on impeachment if a bipartisan compromise on rules for the trial can’t be reached.
The Kentucky Republican said this week that he hopes to reach an agreement on rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but he’s also readying a “backup plan” in case he can’t reach an agreement with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, reported Vanity Fair.
“The first thing Sen. Schumer and I will do is see if there’s a possibility of agreement on a procedure,” McConnell said. “That failing, I would probably come back to my own members and say, ‘Okay, can 51 of us agree how we’re going to handle this?’”
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, could also set the procedure through motions that would be submitted to the Senate and approved by at least 51 votes.
Procedures for the five-week impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton passed by a 100-0 vote, and McConnell reportedly is planning to model Trump’s trial on those rules.
Schumer says he’s willing to compromise with Republicans, and he hopes McConnell won’t take the partisan route.
“The best way to do something that’s important and almost as hallowed a procedure as this, is in a bipartisan way,” Schumer said, “so I hope that Leader McConnell will make every effort to come up with a bipartisan solution working with me. I’m certainly willing to work with him.”