Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has proposed to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial should start in mid-February and laid out the preferred timing during a conference call with Republican colleagues on Thursday, according to multiple sources on the call.
Included in McConnell’s proposal is a deal to begin the Senate proceedings in February so that both sides can properly prepare for former Trump's second impeachment trial, according to multiple people on the call. Schumer could be open to this proposal, giving him more time to confirm President Joe Biden's Cabinet nominees.
Sen. Mike Rounds who was on the call, said his understanding was that McConnell, R-Ky., briefed the conference before going to Schumer, D-N.Y.
“I think we know that we want to make sure that if the Democrats are going to do this impeachment, that the President has a right to due process. And in order to do that he has to prepare a case, they’ve got to set up the rules and so forth so I think it’d be very difficult to start before then,” Rounds, R-S.D., said.
Senator Mike Braun, R-Ind., also told NBC News that he thinks the trial could begin mid-February.
McConnell’s office did have an immediate comment.
Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Schumer, D-N.Y., have punted on the trial timing question today when asked by reporters. Pelosi has yet to indicate when she would send the article of impeachment to the Senate, but says “soon.”
When asked if the president would support moving the impeachment trial to February, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield reiterated what Biden has previously said, that he will leave it to Senate leadership to determine the mechanics and timing of the trial.
Bedingfield added that Biden wants the Senate to conduct the impeachment trial in a way that allows them to move forward with the Covid-19 relief legislation as quickly as possible.