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Republican Senate leader wants Donald Trump’s impeachment trial delayed

Ahead of an insurrection on 6 January, Trump told thousands of his supporters to “fight like hell” against the election results.

Former US President Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump
Image: PA Images

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER Mitch McConnell is proposing to push back the start of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial to give the former president time to prepare and review his case.

House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the deadly Capitol riot on 6 January have signalled they want to move quickly to trial as President Joe Biden begins his term.

They argue a full reckoning is necessary before the country – and the Congress – can move on.

But McConnell has suggested a more expansive timeline that would see the House transmit the article of impeachment next week, on 28 January, launching the trial’s first phase.

After that, the Senate would give the president’s defence team and House prosecutors two weeks to file briefs, with arguments in the trial likely to begin in mid-February.

He said: “Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is reviewing the plan and will discuss it with McConnell, a spokesperson said.

The ultimate power over timing rests with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who can trigger the start of the trial at any point by sending to the Senate the charge of incitement of an insurrection.

The Democrat has not yet said when she will do that, saying yesterday: “It will be soon. I don’t think it will be long, but we must do it.”

Shortly before the insurrection on 6 January, Trump told thousands of his supporters at a rally near the White House to “fight like hell” against the election results that Congress was certifying.

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A mob marched down to the Capitol and rushed in, interrupting the count.

Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the mayhem, and the House impeached Trump a week later, with 10 Republicans joining all Democrats in support.

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