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'Ordinary business' in Senate with impeachment on hold

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 6, 2020 - Duration: 01:38s

'Ordinary business' in Senate with impeachment on hold

U.S. senators, who had expected just weeks ago to be turning their attention to an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, will kick off the week focussing on "ordinary business," with lawmakers still at an impasse over trial rules.

Zachary Goelman reports.

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'Ordinary business' in Senate with impeachment on hold

Senators returning to Congress Monday had expected to turn their attention to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

But a partisan stalemate over how to proceed with that trial has left a question mark over when the process will begin.

The U.S. House of Representatives last month approved charges impeaching Trump for abuse of power and obstructing Congress.

But Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to send the impeachment articles to the Senate, as her party tries to press Republicans, who control that chamber, to call witnesses in the impeachment trial.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, SAYING: "We would hope there would be a fair process, just as we hoped they would honor the Constitution.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said the trial cannot begin until the charges are formally sent over.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "It's the Senate's turn now to render sober judgement as the framers envisioned.

But we can't hold a trial without the articles." Not everyone is showing patience with the stalemate: Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally and the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee told Fox New Sunday that his party could change the rules and start the trial anyway.

But McConnell appears to be in no hurry.

Last week he said that without the impeachment articles in hand, the Senate would focus on "ordinary business." Democrats accuse Trump of trying to pressure Ukraine to probe one of the president's domestic political opponents.

Trump denies wrongdoing.

The earliest the House could act would be Tuesday when it reconvenes.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the leaders of the push for impeachment, told CNN on Sunday that "the desire is to get a commitment from the Senate that they're going to have a fair trial."

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