Monday, December 16, 2019
It could be serious in the Senate shortly after the turn of the year and the US Democrats are already trying to start pegging. Even before the proposed impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump were initiated, they made a proposal to the Republicans in the Senate for further action.
The Senate, which is dominated by Trumps Republicans, is the key authority in impeachment proceedings that could be formally opened in the House of Representatives by mid-week.
Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer addressed his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell in a letter published on Sunday (local time) by several US media. In it, he suggested summoning four senior White House officials as witnesses, including Trump's chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and former national security adviser John Bolton.
According to Schumer, the persons he named could bring the procedure forward because of their "direct experience with government decisions". The letter said that the procedure could begin in the second week of January. Specifically, January 6 is envisaged. According to Schumer, up to eight hours of hearing time per witness could be scheduled.
The Republicans would prefer a quick trial
However, the prospects for success seem manageable. McConnel recently announced that he wanted to coordinate very closely with the White House lawyers. This statement is quite remarkable, since McConnel himself, as a member of the Senate, has a say in the outcome of the proceedings. In addition, he had indicated in advance that there could be a very quick procedure in the Senate – possibly even without witnesses.
In the video: these are the two charges against Trump
McConnel might want to avoid the spectacle surrounding such prominent witnesses. Mulvaney had previously opposed a House subpoena. Bolton has not been personally summoned, but has already announced legal action in such a case.
Trump is supposed to answer for the will of the Democrats for abuse of power and obstruction of the investigation by the Congress, i.e. the US Parliament. This week, the plenary session in the House of Representatives will decide on the two charges. Should the majority in the chamber dominated by the Democrats agree, the impeachment proceedings against Trump would be formally opened.
The subsequent procedure in the Senate is like a trial. For a conviction and impeachment of the president, a two-thirds majority would be required there, which is currently not foreseeable.