Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said the Senate would be required to hold a trial if President Donald Trump is impeached in the House.
Technically, the Constitution does not require the Senate to hold a trial if a president is impeached, but McConnell told CNBC that Senate rules would leave him with “no choice” but to move forward with one.
“Under the Senate rules, we’re required to take it up if the House does go down that path, and we’ll follow the Senate rules,” McConnell said. “It’s a Senate rule related to impeachment that would take 67 votes to change, so I would have no choice but to take it up. How long you’re on it is a whole different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up, based on a Senate rule on impeachment.”
The Kentucky Republican’s remarks came less than a week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump in relation to an escalating scandal regarding a whistleblower complaint linked to a July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
McConnell in March said the Senate would launch a trial if impeachment occurred, but this was his first comment on this matter since the impeachment inquiry began.
Only two presidents in US history — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton — have been impeached and both were acquitted in the Senate.