| October 22, 2019 04:02 PM
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he has no control over how long the Senate would take to conclude a trial if the House votes to impeach President Trump.
“I have no idea how long this will go on,” said the Kentucky Republican.
McConnell’s words appear to contradict a suggestion he made last month when he said that while the Senate would have to take up impeachment, “how long you are on it is a different matter.”
If the House passes articles of impeachment, the Senate would have to follow existing rules for conducting the trial unless 100 senators agreed to change the rules.
The trial would take place every afternoon except Sunday, and Chief Justice John Roberts would preside.
McConnell said the rules give him very little latitude about how the trial is conducted. Motions would come from Roberts, not lawmakers, unless all senators agreed.
“It wouldn’t be up to me,” McConnell said. “Unlike other processes in the Senate, the majority leader does not really have ball control here.”
Lawmakers are in the dark about when the impeachment process will finally conclude in the House, and now the Senate process is looking equally unpredictable.
McConnell said “there are all kinds of potentials,” depending on what articles the House sends to the Senate.
Schumer said he anticipates at some point, sitting down with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, to agree on a process but that the “balls and strikes” of the proceedings are under the control of Roberts, who was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate.
“I don’t see anybody in all of this who would be able to control the process,” McConnell said. “At some point, it ends. I have no idea how long this will go on.”