Democrats weigh timing of impeachment trial: Full steam ahead, or pause to build case and confirm Biden cabinet?

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Democrats weigh timing of impeachment trial: Full steam ahead, or pause to build case and confirm Biden cabinet?


WASHINGTON — Democrats are wrestling with when to start the Senate impeachment trial for President Trump, with some pressing for the party to move immediately as others call for a delay to gather more evidence and clear the calendar for confirming cabinet nominees and passing COVID-19 aid.

See: Trump’s impeachment trial could begin on Inauguration Day

The trial is set to overlap with the beginning of President-elect Joe Biden’s term, complicating the already-busy agenda Democrats plan to tackle in coming weeks, though the exact timing will depend on when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California formally sends over the article of impeachment.

See: Biden calls for $1,400 checks in $1.9 trillion relief plan

A person familiar Democratic leadership discussions in Congress said that, barring further provocations from Trump, the party may hold on to the article for some time, allowing more evidence to accumulate and to give Biden full access to the Senate schedule early in his term. Ahead of last year’s trial, Pelosi held on to the two articles of impeachment for several weeks.

But others have said Democrats should move forward with the process soon, arguing that the Senate could handle both the impeachment trial and other matters simultaneously.

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Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, said on NBC News on Thursday he didn’t know when the Senate will start the trial. “We are working with Republicans to try to find a path forward,” a spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said.

“I don’t have a clear picture” on the timing of a trial, Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a close ally of Biden, said on CNN. 

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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