By David Morgan and Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON, Jan 13 (.) – As the U.S. House of Representatives approached a vote on charges to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Senate Republican leaders were considering whether to start the trial for his possible impeachment on Friday, he said. a source familiar with the subject.
With just a week left until Trump’s turbulent four-year term ends, an immediate trial could allow the Senate to vote on his impeachment before he leaves the White House and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20.
Internal Senate discussions took place as the Democratic-controlled House moved toward impeachment of the president for his role in his supporters’ assault on Congress last week, which left five dead, including a police officer.
Just after noon (1700 GMT), the House majority (221-203) approved a procedural measure that clears the way for a vote, expected later in the day, on a single impeachment article that accuses formally told Trump to incite insurrection in a speech shortly before the revolt.
“The president of the United States instigated an attempted coup in this country,” said Democrat Jim McGovern in the House of Representatives. “If this is not a challengeable offense, I don’t know what the hell is.”
Some Republicans made speeches urging the House not to impeach Trump in the interest of promoting a national healing.
Lawmakers remained restless after last week’s violence, and large numbers of National Guard troops with rifles were inside and outside the building.
If the House of Representatives approves the impeachment, Trump, who is one of three presidents who have been challenged, will be the first to be challenged twice.
An indictment against Trump would not immediately remove him from office, but would launch a trial in a Senate still under Republican control.
Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had previously suggested that the trial could not begin until the Senate was back in regular session on January 19, just a day before Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. position.
Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have lobbied McConnell to agree to convene the Senate earlier in emergency circumstances, and a source noted that the Senate has already scheduled a “proforma” session, usually with little attendance. , For friday.
The New York Times reported that McConnell is pleased with the House impeachment attempt.
If Trump is impeached, it takes a two-thirds majority of the Republican-led Senate to convict him, meaning that at least 17 Republicans from the 100-member House would have to find him guilty.
(Reporting by David Morgan and Richard Cowan; additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; written by Joseph Ax and James Oliphant; edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)