by WorldTribune Staff, January 20, 2020
A resolution being drafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would allow President Donald Trump’s legal team to immediately dismiss the impeachment charges.
The impeachment trial is expected to begin on Tuesday.
Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, told Axios in a phone interview: “My understanding is that the resolution will give the president’s team the option to either move to judgment or to move to dismiss at a meaningful time…”
Hawley said that, in the most recent draft of the organizing resolution he saw, there was an option for the Trump’s counsel to make a motion in multiple places, including at the beginning of the proceedings.
A Republican leadership aide responded: “The White House has the right to make motions under the regular order, including a motion to dismiss, right after the resolution is adopted because a motion to dismiss is a motion permitted by the impeachment rules.”
Hawley added that if the final resolution does not allow Trump’s lawyers the option to dismiss or move to judgment at a “meaningful point” in the trial, he would be “very, very surprised,” and might not vote for the organizing resolution.
Hawley also said he worries that if Trump doesn’t have the option to move to dismiss or move to judgment then Rep. Adam Schiff would have too much control over the trial.
“There is little or no sentiment in the Republican conference for a motion to dismiss,” McConnell told reporters last week. “Our members feel that we have an obligation to listen to the arguments.”
McConnell also stated that each witness would be approved by 51 votes in the Senate, which prompted a warning from Sen. Rand Paul to his fellow Republicans not to negotiate with the Democrats on witnesses.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, promised to “force votes on witnesses and documents” in the Senate trial.
Questioning why McConnell was “being so secretive about his proposal,” the New York Democrat said he was prepared to force the votes when the trial begins.
“We have the right to do it, we are going to do it, and we are going to do it at the beginning on Tuesday if leader McConnell doesn’t call for these witnesses in his proposal,” he said. “Make no mistake about it.”
Schumer continued: “It will be up to four Republicans to side with the Constitution, to side with our Democracy, to side with rule of law. And not side, in blind obeisance, to President Trump and his desire to suppress the truth. Because in my judgment, he probably thinks he’s guilty.”
The president’s legal team laid out its strategy for the trial on Saturday, which includes accusing Democrats of using impeachment to overturn the 2016 presidential election. Alan Dershowitz, who joined the team on Friday, said he would argue that abuse of power, one of the two articles of impeachment against the president, is not an impeachable offense, the Washington Examiner reported.