US Republican members of the Senate is all set to begin an impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the coming days, voiced opposition on Monday to any attempt to dismiss the charges against him without a trial.
The Democratic-led US House of Representatives is expected to formally send the charges to the Senate this week, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to help acquit his fellow Republican.
Earlier on Monday, McConnell and Senate Republicans were trying to decide whether to include a motion to simply dismiss the charges against Trump outright, as the president wants, in the organizing resolution for the trial, according to a person familiar with the matter but unauthorised to discuss it.
The Kentucky Republican is working hand in hand with the White House. He doesn’t pretend to be an impartial arbiter.
As the Senate is about to convene for the landmark undertaking, only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history, perhaps no one is more important to Trump’s defense than the Republican leader.
Earlier in the month, McConnelle said that the Senate has enough votes to set the rules for Trump’s impeachment trial in the Republican-controlled Upper Chamber.
On December 18, Trump was impeached by the Democrat-led House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
McConnell has said that the Senate should model Trump’s impeachment trial after that of former President Bill Clinton, by dealing with potential witnesses once it begins.
Donald Trump faces two charges approved by the House. First, that he abused power by pushing Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political rival, Joe Biden, holding back US military funds to the country as leverage. And second, that he then obstructed Congress by blocking witnesses and testimony in the House probe.
The impeachment against Donald Trump now moves to the House of Representatives, where the opposition Democratic Party enjoys a majority. Once passed by the House, the trial for impeachment would be carried out in the 100-member US Senate, where President Trump’s Republican party has a majority.
Earlier, Trump described his impeachment probe as a hoax and politically motivated.
Nancy Pelosi has argued that the president’s conduct when it came to Ukraine left Democrats with “no choice but to act,” charging that Trump abused the powers of the presidency and leaving little doubt that the House will hold a vote to impeach him as early as before Christmas.
In September, the impeachment inquiry, which Nancy Pelosi initiated over a complaint by an anonymous whistleblower, is looking into White House’s alleged efforts to withhold military aid to have Ukraine investigate a Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden.
(With inputs from agency)