Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Friday that he’s hoping for a quick impeachment trial for President Trump in the U.S. Senate.
“Hopefully, the trial will not be a lengthy trial,” Mr. Klain said at a Washington Post event.
Mr. Klain said he’s hopeful that the Senate will be able to tackle impeachment while also shepherding President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s early agenda through Congress.
The Democratic-led House impeached Mr. Trump this week for inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Senate trial might start right after Mr. Biden is sworn into office on Wednesday.
Mr. Klain said it’s up to the Senate to determine whether Mr. Trump should be barred from holding office in the future — a vote that would take place if and when a two-thirds majority in the Senate votes to convict him.
“That’s a decision the Senate is going to make,” he said. “I don’t have a vote on that, and Joe Biden doesn’t have a vote on that.”
Mr. Biden has sidestepped questions on the merits of impeachment, but he says he doesn’t want a Senate trial to derail his early agenda.
“I know everyone wants to hear us talk about Donald Trump,” Mr. Klain said. “The president is going to be on trial before the Senate — that’s going to be their business to sort out.”
Republicans have already decried the rushed nature of the impeachment process.
Some in the GOP, including Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, have raised constitutional questions on whether the chamber can conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president.
Mr. Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion economic package on Thursday designed to fight the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate the associated economic fallout, which will be the first big legislative test for the incoming president once Democrats officially take control of the House, Senate and White House.
“I think the greater danger is not going big enough,” Mr. Klain said.
He said that given the coming 50-50 split in the Senate and the narrow Democratic majority in the House, voters sent a message that they want to see compromise.
“I think the voters were sending a message in November — that message was that they want people in both parties to work together on matters of common concern,” he said.
Republicans are already blanching at the price tag of the package and say it’s not sufficiently targeted.
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, called it an “economic blind buffalo” that doesn’t do enough to help “Main Street.”