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McConnell Backs Resolution to Change Senate Rules and Dismiss Trump Impeachment Articles Before They Are Even Sent

"McConnell's trying to change the rules of the Senate to cover up for President Trump? No one should be surprised."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks to reporters after attending the weekly Senate Republicans policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol January 7, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday signed on to a constitutionally dubious GOP resolution that would alter Senate rules to dismiss the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump before the House even sends them to the upper chamber.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and backed by 12 other Republicans, would change more than two dozen Senate rules in order to dismiss the articles of impeachment if they are not sent to the Senate "within 25 calendar days from the date of adoption of such articles."

The House approved the two articles of impeachment against Trump on Dec. 12, 2019, meaning the Hawley measure would require the House to send the articles to the Senate by Jan. 12, Axios pointed out.

After Hawley announced in a statement that the Majority Leader backed the resolution, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused McConnell of "trying to change the rules of the Senate to cover up for President Trump."

"No one should be surprised," Schumer tweeted.

Axios reported that the constitutionality of the Hawley resolution "is not clear." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a press conference Thursday that she will send the impeachment articles to the Republican-controlled Senate when she is "ready" but added that she still has not received guarantees they will receive a fair hearing. This has been Pelosi's essential position since the articles passed the House last month.

On Twitter, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) slammed McConnell for co-sponsoring the Hawley resolution, which was introduced earlier this week.

"The Senate Majority Leader will do anything—including shirk his constitutional duty—to protect the president from accountability," Omar said. "Party over country is his M.O."

Politico reported Thursday that McConnell, who has refused to commit to allowing witnesses for the trial, believes Pelosi could send the impeachment articles to the Senate as soon as Friday.

"While senators and aides cautioned that McConnell does not have inside intelligence, the remarks serve as key scheduling advice for senators," Politico noted. "Most Republicans are now gearing up for the relentless pace of the impeachment trial to start on Monday or Tuesday."

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