• GOP considering 'kill switch' for impeachment trial
  • Without the "kill switch," Adam Schiff would have too much control over trial: Sen. Josh Hawley
  • Impeachment trial to start Tuesday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is finalizing a rule that would allow President Donald Trump's legal team to dismiss the articles of impeachment and cut short the trial, a report said.

The report kind of confirms Democrats' worry that McConnell is trying to push for a speedy impeachment trial that will shut out the public. The trial starts with a debate on the rules resolution and McConnell can hold back from publicizing the final version of the resolution on the trial until Tuesday (Jan. 21). Fox News reported that the "kill switch" will help if the Democrats try to drag out the trial for weeks.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told Axios that the most recent draft of the organizing resolution had the option for the President's lawyers "to make a motion in multiple places, including at the beginning of the proceedings."

If McConnell sticks to the rules that governed President Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999 as he has repeatedly said, then House prosecutors will get 24 hours to make their case, and Trump's lawyers will get the same time to offer their defense. That would be followed with 16 hours for senators to ask questions.

US President Donald Trump hopes the Senate will follow his script and clear him of impeachment charges
US President Donald Trump hopes the Senate will follow his script and clear him of impeachment charges AFP / SAUL LOEB

The Hill reported Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) as saying Sunday that GOP plans to limit opening statements from both sides to two days, which would mean 12 hours of testimony a day. That raises the possibility of the proceedings extending into the early morning hours. An earlier report had said McConnell will want to make the trial as painful as it can possibly be to keep senators focused on getting through the trial.

The lead impeachment manager, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and his prosecutorial team are honing their message and strategy ahead of the trial in the Capitol, The Hill said.

With the outcome of the trial in the Republican-controlled Senate already clear, the Democrats would want the trial to play out in media headlines for as long as possible to appeal to voters. The Republicans are trying to deny them the headline space.

Sen. Hawley told Axios that without the "kill switch" Schiff would have too much control over the trial.