A potential Senate impeachment trial is a long way away, but there is already some speculation that, if the House does wind up voting to impeach President Trump after launching an inquiry, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could deploy some stall tactics, Politico reports.
McConnell has said in the past that the Senate would have "no choice" to hold a trial if Trump were ever impeached, but not everyone is convinced. For starters, there is some disagreement over whether the Senate is required by the Constitution to hold a trail if a president is impeached. "The Senate makes the decision," Don Ritchie, a retired Senate historian, said. Others have argued that the law is actually not ambiguous, and that it would require a lot more work for the Republicans to try to prevent a trial rather than to defeat a conviction.
This is wrong. The rules allowed the Senate to not act on Garland (they also allowed any senator to force a vote in relation to that decision). The rules do not allow Senate to ignore impeachment. That would require new rules. New rules require a vote. https://t.co/ZddV6B7Ej8
But, if McConnell does have the power to delay a trial, some observers point to how he handled former President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. McConnell stalled the vote because elections were coming up and the senator felt the next president should appoint the new justice. The timeframe could be somewhat similar in the case of impeachment, Politico reports.
"You're going to start hearing that argument and much more loudly, because we're not too far away from the moment when voters start voting," Michael Steel, a longtime GOP operative and aide to former House Speaker John Boehner, said. "You've got to make the case why it matters and why it rises to the level of removing an elected president of the United States from the White House." Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Wednesday, notifying him that "members on both sides of the aisle" found his testimony last week "unsatisfactory, incomplete, or contradicted by other evidence."
During an appearance on CNN earlier in the day, Nadler said Whitaker "may have" misled the committee. In his letter, he told Whitaker he "repeatedly refused to offer clear responses regarding your communications with the White House, and you were inconsistent in your application of the [Justice] Department's policy related to the discussion of ongoing investigations."
Nadler said the Judiciary Committee has "identified several individuals with direct knowledge of the phone calls you denied receiving from the White House," and he wants Whitaker to come back and clarify how he is handling overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Should Whitaker not work with him, "we would expect to pursue a date and time for a formal deposition," Nadler said. Catherine Garcia