| January 14, 2020 03:27 PM
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republican senators do not support a vote to dismiss impeachment charges against President Trump immediately.
They first want to hear the arguments from impeachment managers and the White House defense team, McConnell said.
McConnell’s comments could clash with White House officials who said they are coordinating with Senate GOP leaders to ensure there is a vote to dismiss the charges, although it’s not clear when in the trial they are seeking the motion.
“There is literally no sentiment in the Republican conference for the motion to dismiss,” McConnell said after meeting privately with GOP senators on Tuesday. “Our members feel we have an obligation to listen to the arguments.”
McConnell first told reporters in December he did not favor a quick dismissal but rather preferred to hear the case first and then vote to acquit the president of the two impeachment articles, which charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
It requires 67 votes to convict the president, which means Democrats would need at least 20 Republicans to side with them to convict Trump, which is unlikely.
Trump’s congressional liaison, Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland, dined privately with Republicans Tuesday afternoon. He told reporters the White House is working closely with McConnell on the trial procedures and did not rule out a dismissal vote at some point.
“The president’s rights will be protected, including the right to a motion to dismiss,” Ueland said.
Reporters challenged Ueland, arguing McConnell has suggested he won’t allow a motion to dismiss the case quickly.
“We are confident the president’s rights will be protected, including the potential for a motion to dismiss,” Ueland said, not specifying when in the trial they would seek such a motion.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told the Washington Examiner a quick dismissal is “not practical” because senators want to hear from the House, which passed the impeachment articles on Dec. 19, following weeks of witness testimony and depositions.
“It would be very difficult to dismiss the case upfront,” Graham said. “I just think that is going to be a hard sell in the Senate.”