In memo, McConnell says Senate can’t take up impeachment until day before Biden’s inauguration

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has poured cold water on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her fellow Democrats’ plans to see President Donald Trump impeached and removed from office before Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

In a memo obtained by The Washington Post, McConnell explained Friday that any action on impeachment in the Senate can’t take place until Jan. 19, just a day before Biden is set to be sworn in as president.

“Although the Senate will hold two pro forma sessions next week, on Jan. 12 and Jan. 15, it is barred from conducting any kind of business during those days” without the approval of all 100 members of the upper chamber, the Post reported Friday.

“With a cadre of Trump-allied senators in the Republican conference, that unanimous consent is highly unlikely,” the outlet noted.

An unlikely outcome

McConnell explained as much in his memo Friday, reportedly writing:

Again, it would require the consent of all 100 Senators to conduct any business of any kind during the scheduled pro forma sessions prior to January 19, and therefore the consent of all 100 Senators to begin acting on any articles of impeachment during those sessions.

But that doesn’t mean Pelosi and company aren’t still planning to charge ahead with efforts to impeach the president.

According to Politico, a group of Dems including Reps. Ted Lieu (CA), David Cicilline (RI), and Jamie Raskin (MD) have rallied more than 185 other members of Congress behind articles of impeachment that they plan to bring to the House floor as early as Monday.

The Democrats charge that Trump incited an attack on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday that was perpetrated by a group of his supporters following a rally for the president in Washington. But many backers of Trump say it’s those who ransacked the Capitol who should be held responsible, and no members of the GOP have signed onto the impeachment effort, as Politico notes.

Trump’s final days

Other options floated by those on the left to remove the president from office with just days left in his term include invoking the 25th Amendment, which would require both Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Trump’s Cabinet to agree to force his removal.

One Republican — Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — has backed calls for such an effort, telling MSNBC on Thursday that the president “unmoored, not just from his duty, or even his oath, but from reality itself,” and saying Pence should work “to end this nightmare,” NBC News reported.

The White House, for its part, has been clear in its condemnation of the Capitol Hill riot, however.

“We condemn it — the president and this administration — in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable and those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a Thursday statement, according to NBC. “Those who violently besieged our capital, are the opposite of everything this administration stands for.”

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