• McConnell accuses Pelosi of trying to run Senate impeachment trial
  • Pelosi strikes back at Trump tweet about fairness of House impeachment investigation
  • Schumer again lays out case for calling witnesses, subpoenaing documents

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Monday slammed the whole premise of an impeachment trial, calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to delay transmitting articles of impeachment against President Trump “absurd.”

In an interview on Fox News, McConnell accused Pelosi of trying to tell Senate Republicans how to conduct a trial.

“She apparently believes she can tell us how to run the trial,” McConnell said. "We can’t do anything until the speaker sends the papers over, so everybody enjoy the holidays."

Congress currently is in recess, so nothing is expected to be resolved before lawmakers return in January.

After the House voted last Wednesday to approve two articles of impeachment against Trump, Pelosi declined to transmit them immediately to the Senate, saying she wanted to wait until trial rules were set. Democrats want to call witnesses and introduce documents since Trump blocked key administration officials from testifying and agencies from turning over documents during the House impeachment investigation. Republicans, however, want to stage a perfunctory trial without introducing any new evidence.

Trump is accused of abusing the power of his office for personal gain and then preventing Congress from investigating his conduct.

Pelosi tweeted Monday the House can’t move forward until it knows what format a Senate trial will take and criticized Trump for preventing testimony and document turnover after Trump tweeted the impeachment process was unfair and predicted Republicans would recapture both houses of Congress in November.

McConnell said Trump’s trial should follow the format adopted during the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

“You listen to the opening arguments, you have a written question period, and at that point, in the Clinton trial, we had a decision about which witnesses to call and, as you can imagine, that was a pretty partisan exercise, but we didn’t let the partisan part of it keep us from getting started so all I’m doing is saying what was good for President Clinton is good for President Trump,” McConnell said.

However, Clinton, unlike Trump, cooperated with the investigation, even testifying before independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

McConnell said it’s ridiculous to think senators will act as impartial jurors. Indeed, he and Sen. Lindsey Graham, who as head of the Judiciary Committee will orchestrate the trial, already have said they have no intention of being impartial.

The Senate never has removed a president from office since 67 votes are needed to convict. Republicans hold a 54-46 majority.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to colleagues Monday demanding internal White House emails and other documents for an impeachment trial related to Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

“There simply is no good reason why evidence that is directly relevant to the conduct at issue in the articles of impeachment should be withheld from the Senate and the American people,” Schumer wrote.

Elsewhere, the Justice Department argued in a brief filed Monday the House impeachment vote undercuts lawmakers’ attempt for force testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn on what he told the Mueller investigation. The Justice Department argued there’s no “compelling” reason for McGahn to testify now since the House has finished gathering evidence against Trump.

In response, House counsel Douglas Letter said in a filing McGahn’s testimony could lead to a second impeachment.

“If McGahn’s testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the Articles approved by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” Letter wrote.