- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 21, 2021

Senate Republicans proposed an impeachment trial schedule Thursday that would put off the start until mid-February, giving all sides time to prepare for what’s expected to be a debate over constitutional principles more than about former President Donald Trump’s behavior.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the extra time is necessary to make up for the snap impeachment conducted in the House, which gave Mr. Trump no chance to offer a defense or even to participate.

Mr. McConnell is proposing the impeachment articles would be presented by the House on Jan. 28, Mr. Trump would get a chance to answer on Feb. 4, and after more legal briefs are exchanged the trial would commence in mid-February.

“At this time of strong political passions, Senate Republicans believe it is absolutely imperative that we do not allow a half-baked process to short-circuit the due process that former President Trump deserves or damage the Senate or the presidency,” Mr. McConnell said.

He said he offered that proposal to Senate Democrats.

They have not yet commented on it, though they had suggested they were hoping for a faster, abbreviated schedule.

The House last week approved one article of impeachment accusing Mr. Trump of inciting insurrection with his speech to a rally Jan. 6. After his speech, his supporters marched on the Capitol, pushing through barricades and laying siege to the House and Senate, where lawmakers had been gathered to count the electoral votes to confirm President Biden’s victory.

The assault left one police officer dead of wounds, and one rioter also died after being shot. Three other people involved in the mob died in what authorities called medical cases.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the article of impeachment on Jan. 13, but has not yet sent it over.

She refused to discuss exact timing with reporters on Thursday, saying only that it would be “soon.”

She led the House in the snap impeachment, arguing it was critical to oust Mr. Trump even though he had just a week left in office.

Now, with Mr. Trump out of office, the dynamic has changed.

Many Republicans argue there’s no constitutional avenue to convict a president who is out of office.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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