WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the House impeachment inquiry (all times local):
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that if the House goes ahead and impeaches President Donald Trump, the Senate “has no choice” but to conduct a trial to determine whether the president is removed from office.
The Kentucky Republican told NPR on Friday that “if the House were to act, the Senate immediately goes into a trial.”
McConnell had not previously indicated whether the Senate would act on any articles of impeachment, though the Constitution anticipates that it would. It’s commonly assumed that the GOP-held chamber would acquit Trump just as Democrats held together in 1999 to deny the GOP House from winning a conviction of President Bill Clinton.
McConnell is among the few senators remaining in the chamber who participated in the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial.
As they begin an investigation into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, members of the House intelligence committee may be working through a two-week congressional recess that starts Friday.
Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat on the panel, said committee members are prepared to return. California Rep. Jackie Speier, also on the committee, said she’s already canceled some of her previous commitments.
The Democrats are seeking to keep momentum as the committee is suddenly at the center of an investigation that their caucus will use to inform impeachment proceedings. Members of the committee said they expect to eventually interview White House aides and others linked to a whistleblower complaint made public Thursday.
The complaint showed Trump repeatedly urging the Ukrainian president to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his family.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is voicing concern over President Donald Trump’s comments that suggested retaliation against people who helped an intelligence whistleblower. The whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s leader is at the center of the House impeachment probe.
White House officials took extraordinary steps to “lock down” information Trump’s call, even moving the transcript to a secret computer system, according to the complaint.
Trump lashed out Thursday, saying whoever provided information to the whistleblower is “close to a spy.” Trump suggested that was treason, an act punishable by death.
Pelosi told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday she’s “concerned about some of the president’s comments about the whistleblower.”
She said the House panels conducting the impeachment probe will make sure there’s no retaliation against people who provided information.