Republicans seek delay ‘to give Trump fair trial’

The Trumps walking out of the doors of the White House for the last time during his presidency.

Republicans in the US Senate are asking Democrats to delay the start of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial until February.

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They argue this will give Mr Trump time to prepare a defence. He is accused of inciting insurrection after supporters of his stormed the Capitol this month.

House of Representatives’ Democrats are ready to hand the charge to the Senate.

Mr Trump flew to Florida as his term ended on Wednesday, skipping his successor Joe Biden’s inauguration.

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Four protesters and a Capitol Police officer died in the mayhem.

On a call to his fellow Republican senators on Thursday, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said he had asked House Democrats to hold off sending the single impeachment article to the Senate until 28 January – a move which would kick-start the trial’s first phase.

Republicans, who as of Wednesday no longer control the Senate, need the new Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to agree to the idea.

Mr McConnell said in a statement: “Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake.”

Ten Republicans sided with House Democrats in impeaching the outgoing president on 14 January.

Even though Democrats now narrowly control the Senate, they would need the support of at least 17 Republicans in order to convict Mr Trump, because a two-thirds vote is required.

A handful of Senate Republicans have indicated they are open to conviction, but most have either cast doubt on the legality of trying a president after he has left office, or said the process would be too divisive.

Mr Schumer’s office has not yet released a statement on Mr McConnell’s proposal.


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