Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking from the chamber’s floor Friday, rejected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to shape a pending impeachment trial as “fantasy”—leaving the process at a standstill as lawmakers return from the holiday recess.
“Their turn is over. They’ve done enough damage. It’s the Senate’s turn now to render sober judgment,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor.
But he stressed that the chamber cannot hold a trial unless and until the House of Representatives transmits the two articles of impeachment adopted last month, accusing President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress pertaining to his dealings with Ukraine. Pelosi, D-Calif., has held onto them in a bid to seek favorable terms for a trial, including the involvement of certain Democrat-sought witnesses.
McConnell called Pelosi’s effort to “hand-design” the proceedings in the Senate a “non-starter” and a “fantasy.”
Moments later, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., defended his party’s efforts to seek certain high-level witnesses and documents, noting how recently published emails have started to fill out the details of the administration’s decision to freeze aid to Ukraine while the president sought politically advantageous investigations from Kiev. Schumer said it is imperative to learn the “whole truth,” while voicing concern McConnell could end up holding a “mock trial.”