WASHINGTON — President Trump’s impeachment trial won’t be heard in the Senate until after he has already left office and Joe Biden is president, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed Tuesday, delivering a fatal blow to Democrats.
The House of Representatives will vote later Tuesday on an article of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting an insurrection during last week’s Capitol riot, but the Senate is not due to reconvene until Jan. 19 — the day before Biden’s inaugurati on.
Democrats desperate to have the matter heard in the upper chamber as swiftly as possible lobbied McConnell (R-Ky.) to take up the matter while Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer explored a 2004 rule which would have allowed him to recall the chamber in an emergency.
But on Tuesday, McConnell spokesman Doug Andres confirmed Washington Post reporting which said that McConnell’s office called Schumer and told him they would not consent to an emergency reconvening.
This means that Trump’s impeachment trial will almost certainly take place during the earliest days of Biden’s presidency.
The bitter proceedings are likely to create a dark cloud over Biden’s administration as he sets about trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic and setting a new tone of “unity.”
In an interview earlier this month, Democratic House Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), one of the former veep’s closest confidants, warned Democrats to hold-off on sending the articles to the Senate to give Biden space to create his legislative agenda.
“I do have concerns, and so does Speaker Pelosi,” Clyburn told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running,” he said, “and maybe we will send the articles some time after that.”