Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Wednesday that he would not reconvene the chamber for an emergency session to vote on President Donald Trump's second impeachment. The United States Senate could reconvene as early as Friday, but only with the agreement of McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. McConnell's team told Axios that the Kentucky Republican will not agree to it.
The House of Representatives is deliberating on an expedited impeachment for Trump this week and is expected to vote on it by the end of the day on Wednesday. It will then go to the Senate, who would need to convict him in order for him to be removed from office. The whole process would need to move fast to be completed before Trump leaves the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, but without McConnell's assent to reconvene early, the Senate will not tackle this issue until Tuesday at the earliest.
"Even if we started a trial yesterday, there's not enough time to remove him from office," one of McConnell's staffers told Axios. Even this rebuke is notably absent of defense of the president or his actions. McConnell waited a long time to break from Trump and contradict his conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, but on the day of the Capitol riot, at least, he said that overturning the election would "damage our republic forever."
Without McConnell's cooperation, it is likely that Trump's second impeachment will not remove him from office, either. That leaves only the 25th amendment, which Democrats have been trying to invoke since before these impeachment proceedings began.
The 25th amendment would require the agreement of McConnell, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and at least one high-ranking member of Trump's cabinet. If it were successfully invoked, Trump could be removed from office on the grounds that he is unable to execute the duties of the presidency.
It is not clear how McConnell would respond to a request to invoke the 25th amendment, as the roadblock in that route seems to be Pence. That surprises many pundits since Trump made Pence the clear target of the attack on the Capitol last week. He falsely told his supporters that Pence had the power to overturn the election results, yet failed to use it. The rioters then changed "hang Mike Pence" as they stormed the building, and erected a gallows out front.
"Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify," Trump tweeted as the riot got underway. "USA demands the truth!"