McConnell Declines Immediate Senate Trial, Will Start During Normal Session

By Samantha Swank 

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell released a statement last Wednesday explaining why he declined to call an emergency session for the impending impeachment trial. 

He stated, “The House of Representatives has voted to impeach the President. The Senate process will now begin at our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House. 

“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week. The Senate has held three presidential impeachment trials. They have lasted 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days respectively. 

“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office. This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact. The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the ‘quickest’ path for any change in the occupant of the presidency. 

“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration. I am grateful to the offices and institutions within the Capitol that are working around the clock, alongside federal and local law enforcement, to prepare for a safe and successful inauguration at the Capitol next Wednesday.”

Though this isn’t the first impeachment trial to be held in the Senate, it is the first to proceed following the defendant’s presidential term. The charges include incitement of the mob that breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, acts of violence and vandalism and ultimately the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick. 

The riot occurred immediately following a rally held by President Trump. In the rally, he made statements such as, “We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about….we will stop the steal,” “[A]fter this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you…. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness” and “you will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen.” 

Some rioters have even cited Trump’s speech as at least one of the motivations for participating in the mob.

The House voted to impeach President Donald Trump in a 232-197 vote after Vice President, Mike Pence declined to invoke the 25th Amendment, and consequently remove President Trump from office, despite pressure from the House. 

Senator McConnell, who was recently re-elected to his seventh term as a Kentucky Senator, has remained loyal to Trump since his term began. McConnell also convinced most Republican senators to acquit the President of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress during Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when only Senator Mitt Romney voted to convict alongside Democrats. 

This past October—mere weeks from the 2020 election— McConnell pushed for the speedy nomination and confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, following Justice Ginsburg’s death in September, despite refusing to hold a hearing for Merrick Garland a full nine months before the 2016 election. 

Most recently, McConnell refrained from congratulating President-elect Joseph Biden on his victory for several weeks, meanwhile validating attempts to pursue erroneous claims of voter fraud. 

Even though the trial has yet to commence as the Senate waits for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to deliver the articles, McConnell’s indecisiveness on what he will vote in this trial signals that a conviction may indeed be possible this time around. Several other Republican Senators have expressed openness to it, including Senators Susan Collins and Bob Sasse. 

The Constitution does not state that a Senate impeachment trial can only be conducted during a president’s term. Given that consequences of impeachment include not only “removal from Office” but also “disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States,” a conviction—even after leaving office—could effectively bar President Trump from later pursuing a second term, an idea with which he has previously toyed. It could also deny him annual compensation, office staff and other benefits afforded by the 1958 Former Presidents Act, should a senatorial simple majority vote to disqualify him from future office.

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  1. Ron Glick

    “…a conviction—even after leaving office—could effectively bar President Trump from later pursuing a second term,…”

    Yes and why McConnell will likely vote yes bringing the Republicans needed to convict along with him.

      1. Eric Gelber

        This will fade away . . .

        Wishful thinking. Like Trump’s response to the pandemic.

        . . . like all other crises . . .

        This isn’t like all other crises. Attempts to overturn a democratic election through mob violence don’t just fade away.


  2. Ron Oertel

    “This will fade away . . .”

    I just watched Trump’s exit speech, in which he said something along the lines of “we’ll be back in some form”.   (I’m sure that some will make fun of the “form”.)

    Regardless, that would be my guess, as well – given the 74 million votes for him.

    Had the pandemic not hit, one wonders if the outcome would have been different (even with all of the divisiveness). Or, was it the divisiveness which created his popularity? “Drain the swamp”?

    In any case, there’s clearly a vast number of people who don’t think that the Democrats represent them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Congress (especially the Senate) switch back to Republican control, at the next election.

    1. Ron Oertel

      And perhaps more importantly, there appears to be a significant number of people who don’t think that either party represents them.  (As demonstrated by Trump’s election in the first place, the Tea party, Ralph Nader, etc.)

      And frankly, I suspect that most voters have at least some thoughts along those lines.

      The “disruption” factor likely has broader appeal than some might think, in a system that does not hold particularly-favorable views by many.

      But, I see no signs that this “message” is getting-through to the established parties.

      1. Bill Marshall

        there appears to be a significant number of people who don’t think that either party represents them. 

        No s&*%, Sherlock!… Republicans are # 3 ‘party’ (registrations) in CA, and the Demos are also losing ground to NPP folk… somewhat trending similarly in other states, but not yet anywhere  to the same degree as in CA…

        1. Ron Oertel

          As long as money and related interests rule the system, there won’t be a viable party (or candidates) that are not corrupted by that.

          I recently took a look at the lobbyists listed for California’s government (alone), and was floored by it. Those are apparently the folks that representatives meet with and listen to, and whose support one ultimately needs (at least to some degree) to become a representative in the first place.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Yeah… like the famous Avis ad… “we’re # 2, so we try harder”… Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, but won the Electoral College… in 2020, he lost both… “three strike provision” is in play…

      Trump lost… the Trump thingy about the fact he “won in a landslide”, is not only false, but demented.

      Have some in-laws who believe today’s inauguration is “false news”… fortunately not as dangerous as those demented ones who stormed Congess two weeks ago today…

      Fortunately, Pence and McConnell are no longer ‘enablers’… Pence did not attend Trump’s departure, but did attend the inauguration… McConnell has set the Republicans free to “vote their conscience” as to ‘conviction’ [still wish the House had approved more than one article of impeachment… they missed a big “gimme”… the bribery/coercion of the GA Secretary of State, to falsify election results, and perjure themselves in attesting to them.  Well documented.

      But hey… he’s in FL, probably getting in a round of golf to alleviate his sulking, and may he never return to the national scene, unless it is in one of those long-sleeved coats, with the straps on the back…

      1. Ron Oertel

        The Republicans might (at this point) be more threatened by someone like Trump than the Democrats are.

        I have no idea why some (such as your in-laws, and many others) apparently still believe that Trump won.  Perhaps it’s ultimately related to a distrust of the system (both political, and media).  The same distrust (and disenfranchisement) that led to Trump’s initial victory.

        What I see, though – is essentially a continuation of an “us” vs. “them” mentality. Rather than focus on the underlying dissatisfaction that some apparently feel. Maybe that’s by design.

        Regarding Pence and McConnell, I suspect that they have less in common with (most) Democrats than Trump does.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Regarding Pence and McConnell, I suspect that they have less in common with (most) Democrats than Trump does.

          In some ways yes… Pence and McConnell are conservative Republicans… Trump was a Democrat until shortly before he ran for President… Trump was a master of “ratings” and ‘playing to his base’… [but ‘the apprentice’ has been “fired”]

          In other ways, no… my take is that Pence and McConnell have a lot in common with most Democrats… they actually have values, morals, and a sense of serving the public weal, ahead of themselves… they have different views, but ultimately, a common cause… public service…

          Not sure if Trump has/had values, morals, and was definitely focused on serving himself… narcissism was is/was his ‘trump suit’… to ‘bridge’ this, NT beats any other suit…


        2. Ron Oertel

          Let’s just say that Trump was an odd combination of things, indeed.

          I remember watching him on Letterman years ago, and found him to be one of the more entertaining guests.

          I suspect that he’d be a great host, in Mar-a-Lago. I’d probably go, if invited! (Not to argue with him, for sure.)

          1. David Greenwald

            A week or two ago, I was having a discussion with someone and he told me that he had known the Trump family for a long time, and was just blown away by how differently they acted over the last five years from the people he knew.

        3. Ron Oertel

          He never should have run for president.  I think Howard Stern previously said this some time ago, as well (despite some kind of friendship, I believe).

          The presidency is an office where you’re not going to get the same level of “respect”, as you would as the head of a corporation (or reality TV show, where you “fire” people). It’s a public service.

          I guess there was always a dark side in there (e.g., in regard to the Central Park 5, and his lack of acknowledgement regarding that).

          In any case, I’ll count on you being one of the letters in our “YMCA” dance, if we’re ever invited to Mar-a-Lago.

        4. Keith Olsen

          I guess there was always a dark side in there (e.g., in regard to the Central Park 5, and his lack of acknowledgement regarding that).

          Yes there is, and don’t you think Biden has his dark side too?

        5. Ron Oertel

          Sure – we all have our biases.  (Haven’t you been reading the Vanguard forever? That’s lesson #1!)  😉

          But more seriously, I think that Biden has a better-understanding of public service (and acceptance of criticism). More of a team player, if you will.

          Seems unlikely, for example, that Trump would select someone like Harris after her public challenge directed at Biden, during the debate.  (Had Trump been in Biden’s shoes.)

          The guy rides Amtrak!  Or did, until recently.

          On the flip side, Biden would never have a following like Trump has. Partly for the same reason (e.g., Trump’s willingness to challenge anyone – including allies).

        6. Ron Oertel

          Some of you have probably seen the video, in which Obama (while president) made fun of Trump, in regard to the birther allegation (or whatever it was called).  Obama went on-and-on relentlessly (which I found amusing, but Trump might not have).

          From what I’ve heard, that may have been a key moment, prompting Trump to run. Of course, Obama was subsequently and shockingly forced to meet Trump at the White House, while Trump has now skipped-out on meeting with Obama’s vice-president, I guess.

          What comes-around, goes-around.

          Biden’s drive comes from a different spot. Nor does he get-off on phrases like, “lock him/her up” (even if there might be more cause to do so).

        7. Ron Oertel

          Tried to add “in the eyes of some”, but was cut-off.

          (I’m also still trying to score an invitation to Mar-a-Lago.)  🙂

          I propose me, David, Keith, and John. Take your pick of the YMCA letters. (I have trouble with the “M”.)

  3. John Hobbs

    “Yes there is, and don’t you think Biden has his dark side too?”

    Has he ever suborned perjury? Solicited a foreign power for campaign assistance? Ignored a bounty on US troops by a foreign leader? Incited an attack on the US congress, Vice President and the US capitol Building?

    By the way Keith, have you admitted that Trump did incite insurrection?

      1. Bill Marshall

        Isn’t that true of any human… some own up to those, often apologizing… others flat out deny it of spin it, saying the truth is “fake news”… verbally or via tweets…

        Has the former (YEA!) POTUS ever admitted to any “bad things” he’s done?  I think not… never even released his income tax summaries…

      2. Matt Williams

        Do you want a list of some of the many bad things Biden has done?

        Let me tell you, the list is long.

        Keith, I would be very interested in you sharing that long list of the many bad thingsa Biden has done.  Are you willing to share it?

          1. David Greenwald

            Of course Keith probably would support half that list – maybe more. I would also say – if that’s the worst ten things, he’s lived a relatively clean 50 years in public life. Just saying. Not defending some of them, but still.

          1. David Greenwald

            It’s interesting that Keith can’t find a more neutral source to attempt to validate his claim

        1. Alan Miller

          interesting cite…

          I just went to Google “Bad Biden” and pasted the first thing that came up.   I never read the list, have no idea what is on it, nor noted the source.

      3. Bill Marshall

        As is Trump’s… personally, professionally, politically, and personal/prefessisonal income tax-wise… your point?

        Name one person who has not flaws in their actions, over the age of 30… Biden’s, by and large, do not seem to rise to criminally prosecutable actions… for those that do not rise to that level, he (Biden) has expressed remorse, contrition for many… that is not true of Trump… and his family…

  4. Keith Olsen

    It’s interesting that Keith can’t find a more neutral source to attempt to validate his claim

    Can you refute that Biden didn’t say or do the things listed in the links that I and Alan have provided?

    1. David Greenwald

      I don’t know why it’s on me to “refute” something that you posted without bothering to verify and fact check yourself.

      But here’s the first one on the Jungle:

      That’s probably more work than you’ve done to verify the accuracy of the post you made. Personally I think the burden is on you to do the work to verify the claim especially when you cite from a clearly biased sourced.

      1. Don Shor


        In the 1970s the man Keith Olsen supported was refusing to rent to blacks and lying to them about availability of housing.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Nah, that was just “business”… yeah, right…

          The term “jingoistic” was coined many years ago, for a reason… perfect term for certain folk…

        1. Keith Olsen

          Our rating: Partly False
          Based on our research, the post is PARTLY FALSE. It contains two claims, one true and one false. It’s true that Biden said mandatory busing to integrate schools would lead to his children growing up in a “racial jungle.” It’s false that he said, “I don’t want my children to grow up in a jungle, a racial jungle.”

          Okay, out of the 7 racist comments you found one that is partly false.  That’s 1/2 of one out of seven cited in the article.


          1. David Greenwald

            Actually I looked at the first one and found that it not only partly false, but completely neutralized when viewed in context of 1977

            Again, did you do anything to check the accuracy of the claims? Alan Miller at least admitted he had not.

          1. David Greenwald

            Again you keep dodging several points including the fact that it is not my obligation to refute, it is your obligation to prove that the post you made is accurate. You obviously didn’t read the USA Today piece carefully either or you would realize that it completely blows up any claim of racial prejudice other than the use of the term – which in 1977 is hardly newsworthy. Biden’s position was against busing – which is not surprising – most people at that time were. But he was in favor of desegregation but worried that it needed to proceed in an orderly manner. His use of the phrase reads a lot worse in 2021 than in 1977, but given how prevalent much worse racial slurs were at that time, hardly the worst offense in the world.

          2. David Greenwald

            Anyway, if you want to know why I categorically reject the accuracy of publications such as the one you posted from, it’s because they regularly print provably false and misleading information and you fail to scrutinize its accuracy.

        2. Ron Oertel

          You’re claiming that USA Today (the link that Keith provided) is not to be relied-upon?

          If one has to prove the (general) accuracy and reliability of news sources (vs. debating what they state), there’s going to be a lot of extra work – just to prove what’s written is accurate in the first place.  Including the accuracy of what’s posted on the Vanguard.

          And where would it end? With the sources that they relied upon? And so on, etc.?

          This would be a topic in-and-of-itself.

          Seems to me that just claiming that a source is (generally) not accurate is a rather uninspired response.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Actually, I’m not seeing any substantive difference between the quote in Keith’s post, vs. the one that you posted (regarding that issue), regardless.

          But I would agree with you, that it’s not extremely controversial.  A lot of people didn’t like busing, and still don’t. (Personally, I thought that Biden could have legitimately defended that point of view when Kamala Harris brought it up. But, I guess he was blindsided by it.)


  5. Bill Marshall

     it is your obligation to prove that the post you made is accurate

    Remember those words David… it equally applies to you, guest contributers, Student VG, etc.

    I do not disagree, but beware of ‘being hoisted on your own pitard’… just saying…

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