WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Senate trial against President Donald Trump is beginning to take shape, even before the House officially sends over the articles of impeachment.
Democrats are calling for a “real trial” with witness testimony, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he has the votes needed to move the process along and follow the precedent set by former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said she plans to send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate soon, but did not specifically say when.
“I’ll send them over when I’m ready, and that will probably be soon,” Pelosi said.
In a letter sent to House Democrats, Pelosi told her colleagues she’s prepared to send them over and appoint managers for the Senate’s impeachment trial.
“As I said right from the start, we need to see the arena in which we are sending our managers, is that too much to ask?” Pelosi said.
The delayed delivery has allowed both House and Senate Democrats to urge McConnell to outline a fair trial, which includes witness testimony.
“My gut tells me we’ll be starting this trial rather soon,” Senator Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, said.
Casey said he’s preparing for the trial, but still continues his push for witnesses to come forward.
“All we’re saying is if you’re going to have a fair trial, you ought to have witnesses, it’s not a radical idea,” Casey said.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, agrees, saying it’s what the Founding Fathers intended.
“We should have the facts so that we can do our constitutional duty,” Gillibrand said.
Despite Democrats push for witnesses, McConnell said he has the votes to proceed with the first phase of the impeachment trial.
“There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure,” McConnell said. “We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats’ turn is over.”
Congressman Tom Reed, R-New York, said it’s past time for the impeachment proceedings to conclude.
“The speaker should have sent this over to the Senate weeks ago to get this behind us,” Reed said.