Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Wednesday urged GOP senators to prepare for an impeachment trial of President Trump, which could heat up as early as Thanksgiving.
McConnell, who has largely refrained from making grandiose public statements on the House impeachment effort in recent days, briefed GOP senators during a luncheon on Wednesday on the impeachment process via a PowerPoint presentation and urged them to gear up for an impeachment trial in the Senate. He expects this process could heat up next month, around Thanksgiving.
“There’s sort of a planned expectation that it would be sometime around Thanksgiving, so you’d have basically Thanksgiving to Christmas — which would be wonderful because there’s no deadline in the world like the next break to motivate senators,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said, according to the Washington Post.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) led the meeting alongside McConnell and, according to the Post, urged colleagues to consider penning a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), declaring that Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky — which is serving as a basis for the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry — contains nothing worthy of impeachment. Graham failed to get everyone on board, with some lawmakers expressing concern over Trump’s potential reaction to the members who would opt out of signing the letter.
“Some senators, however, pushed back against that idea, arguing that Trump would assume that those who did not sign the document would be persuadable on a vote to oust him,” the Post explained.
The meeting followed Tuesday’s Democrat debate, in which every single candidate on stage signaled support for pursuing an impeachment inquiry.
Pelosi announced this week that the lower chamber will not yet hold a full House vote on the inquiry despite the White House vowing to refrain from participating in the “illegitimate” inquiry until proper steps are taken.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote:
Your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice. In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.
“There’s no requirement that we have a vote, and at this time, we will not have a vote,” Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday.
“We’re not here to call bluffs. We’re here to find the truth, to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” she continued. “This is not a game for us; this is deadly serious.”
It is not yet fully known what impact late House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings’ (D-MD) untimely death will have on the Democrat Party’s continued impeachment effort. He was leading the inquiry charge alongside House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY).
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Elijah Cummings, a man of great consequence and significance on the Oversight Committee for the last twenty years,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement.
“As Ranking Member and then as Chairman, he injected an unyielding passion and purpose into his work on the Committee,” he continued, offering prayers to Cummings’ wife, children, and loved ones.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) will replace Cummings as the “acting” House Oversight chair.