McConnell may quietly kill attempt to ‘dismiss’ impeachment to avoid embarrassing vulnerable GOP senators: report
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at CPAC 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) decided to withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate to demand a fair set of rules be adopted for the trial, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) responded by filing what he called a motion to "dismiss" the impeachment charges, arguing that this is what would happen in a real courtroom if the prosecutor refused to bring the charges.

Of course, impeachment is not like a true trial, where a prosecutor could generally presume (or select) a fair jury while proceeding. But many Republican senators signed onto this stunt including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Now, however, NBC News is reporting that the "motion to dismiss" may never get a vote, as McConnell fears the result of forcing GOP senators in vulnerable seats to take such a divisive vote on top of the final vote to acquit or convict.

"I would vote against the motion to dismiss," said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a longtime senator who is retiring this year. "I think we need to hear the case; Ask your questions. Then as they did in the Clinton impeachment we ought to decide then whether we need to hear from additional witnesses or need additional documents. So a motion to dismiss is not consistent with hearing the case."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the Majority Whip and McConnell's right-hand man, said "It's pretty clear to me that this is no longer about convicting and removing Donald Trump as president. This is about [Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer getting 2020 Republican incumbents in two tough voting situations. So I think recognizing that that's his goal, I think it won't surprise you that we're thinking about that too, and how to avoid that as much as possible."