Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Republicans have not ruled out calling witnesses in an impeachment trial in the case of President Donald Trump, but what he really wants of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is that the proceedings will be handled in the same way former President Bill Clinton's were.
"We had a procedure that was approved 100-0, Schumer voted for it, to go through the opening arguments, to have a written question period, and then, based on that, deciding what witnesses to call," the Kentucky Republican told Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "We haven't ruled out witnesses. We've said, let's handle this case just like we did with President Clinton. Fair is fair."
However, McConnell has said several times, including on the Senate floor, that he does not favor calling witnesses to testify in an impeachment trial in a stance at odds with Trump's, who would reportedly prefer a longer trial with testimony. Other Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, have also called for a quick trial without calling additional witnesses.
McConnell, meanwhile, said he "can't imagine" what purpose House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could have for not sending articles of impeachment or assigning House managers for an upcoming trial.
"It seems to me [to be] a rather absurd position to say after you've impeached the president that you won't send the papers over to the Senate for the impeachment trial mandated by the Constitution," said McConnell.
He added that he spoke with Schumer before lawmakers left town for the Christmas break, and said the impeachment discussions remain "at an impasse" because "we can't do anything until the speaker sends the papers."
"We're ready to sit there and have the trial the Constitution requires," said McConnell. "We're able to continue to do our business, and I just want to interject that we've now done 50 circuit court judges. Barack Obama did 55 in eight years."
McConnell also insisted he and Trump have gotten along fine, and believe they should highlight the judicial appointments that have been made. Trump added a written introduction to McConnell's book "The Long Game," which is now out in paperback, and the senator said he and Trump both believe the appointments are the "longest-lasting contribution" the administration and Republican Senate will make to the country.
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