US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (File pic)
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (File pic)

Trump impeachment : McConnell not ruling out calling witnesses for trial

ANI | Updated: Dec 24, 2019 13:58 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 24 (ANI): US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said that he was not ruling out calling witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial - but indicated he was in no hurry to seek new testimony either - as politicians remain at an impasse over the form of the trial by the Republican-controlled Senate.
"We haven't ruled out witnesses," McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a Fox News interview.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach Trump, who became only the third president in US history to be formally charged with "high crimes and misdemeanours".
But the Senate trial may be held up until congressional leaders agree on how to proceed. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is demanding trial witnesses who refused to appear during House committee hearings, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
But the request was rejected by McConnell, who suggested a quick wrap-up of the trial to acquit Trump of the allegations contained in two articles of impeachment passed by the House last week.
Trump was impeached by the House for what the Democrats said was abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to launch political investigations, especially into his presidential rival Joe Biden, that would help with his reelection, and obstructing Congress's impeachment inquiry by stonewalling subpoenaed administration officials as well as related documents. Trump became the third president in US history to be impeached.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a tweet Monday defended her decision not to hand the articles over to the Senate anytime soon.
"The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct," She said, adding that "President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?"
Reacting to Pelosi's remarks, McConnell said in the interview that the Democratic congresswoman representing California is "apparently trying to tell us how to run the trial." He said he is "not anxious to have this trial."
"We're at an impasse. We can't do anything until the speaker sends the papers over," McConnell said.
However, Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing on his part and branded the impeachment as a politically-motivated effort by Democrats to overturn the results of the 2016 election.
McConnell and Schumer have yet to agree on the rules governing the Senate trial, which is expected to be held in mid-January. (ANI)