A congressional statement under consideration could give the Senate special powers to avoid a lengthly trial about whether to remove the president from office.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has confirmed the Republican Party is making final changes to a proposed resolution that allows President Donald Trump’s team to dismiss the two articles of impeachment after some evidence has appeared before the Senate.
The move is hoped to avoid wasting more time and taxpayer funds on an impeachment trial that is widely expected to be voted down in the Republican controlled Senate.
There could be lengthy delays if the Senate agrees to hear from additional witnesses, which would interfere with the general election campaign for multiple presidential candidates.
“[The trial could take] six to eight weeks or even longer,” Cruz told “Sunday Morning Futures” on Fox News.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) agrees any such legislation is highly likely to include a so called kill switch to prevent the Senate trial from experiencing unnecessary delays, and would be “very surprised” if it did not.
“I am familiar with the resolution as it stood a day or two ago,” Hawley said according to Fox News. “My understanding is that the resolution will give the president’s team the option to either move to judgment or to move to dismiss at a meaningful time.”
President Trump has already secured support from top Republican Party members to guarantee his constitutional right to a speedy trial.
“[The president] deserves the right during the Senate trial to ask for a verdict or move to dismiss—otherwise trial will become endless circus run by [Rep.] Adam Schiff,” Hawley said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) does not have to make the final version of his resolution public until Jan. 21.
The secrecy has upset Democrats who want to influence how the trial is run in the Senate. House managers have “absolutely no idea” what the structure of the first two days will be like at the trial according to Fox News.
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who will appear at the trial, agreed with earlier comments from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that this is the first impeachment in history where the president has been accused of no crime. In such a case there is “no need” for witnesses.
“Criminal-like conduct is required for impeachment,” Dershowtiz said.
As previously reported by The BL, Republicans have tried to dismiss the trial before hearing any witnesses but they do not have enough votes according to Graham.
“The idea of dismissing the case early on is not going to happen. We do not have the votes for that so we will play it out along the [Bill] Clinton model,” he said.