Now that the House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate process on the impeachment "will now begin at our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House."
The Senate is not scheduled to be back in session until January 19, meaning the Senate trial on the articles of impeachment will likely not begin until President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
"Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office," McConnell said in his statement, referencing the previous three impeachment trials in history. "They have lasted 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days respectively."
The move was anticipated, after learning that McConnell's staff had informed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer he would not call an emergency session to start the impeachment trial.
"I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration," McConnell stated.
The House impeached Trump Wednesday afternoon, making him the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. They accuse the president of inciting a violent mob of supporters to attack the Capitol last week.
McConnell said he has not decided how he will vote during the Senate impeachment trial.
“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell said in a written statement Wednesday morning before the House's vote.
Though Trump will have left office by the time the impeachment trial begins,there may still be consequences if he is convicted. If convicted, the Senate could vote to bar him from holding public office ever again, which would prevent Trump from running for president in 2024. There are also questions about whether senators could vote to remove other post-presidency benefits.