Impeachment trial remains in limbo as Senate convenes for 2020

Any warm feelings from the holiday season quickly evaporated on the first day of the second session of the 116th Congress, as Senate leaders from both parties traded personal barbs Friday on the floor of the Senate, with no indication as to when a Senate impeachment trial might begin for President Donald Trump.

"Democrats have let 'Trump derangement syndrome' develop into the kind of dangerous partisan fever that our Founding Fathers were afraid of," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"But we can’t hold a trial without the articles," McConnell acknowledged, as until Democrats in the House send the actual papers with the impeachment charges across the Capitol, a Senate trial cannot start.

While McConnell made clear he didn't want to hear anything from Democrats about how to structure the trial, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer zeroed in on new emails released in recent days, which indicate the President was actively holding back aid to Ukraine.

"Why are they covering it up? What are they hiding?" Schumer said on the Senate floor.

"We are not asking for critics of the President to serve as witnesses in the trial," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "We are asking only that the President’s men, his top advisers, tell their side of the story."

But the Majority Leader was having none of it.

"No member of this body needs condescending lectures on fairness from the House Democrats who just rushed through the most unfair impeachment in modern history, or lectures on impartiality from senators who happily pre-judged the case with President Clinton," McConnell said.

In recent days, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has echoed the sentiments of Sen. Schumer, in demanding that Senators hear from witnesses who refused to honor subpoenas for their testimony during House impeachment proceedings.

While the House officially started its work on Friday as well, no votes are scheduled for House members until next Tuesday - as no announcement has been forthcoming from Democrats about whether they will walk the impeachment papers across the Capitol to the Senate anytime soon.

That delay has left Republicans uncertain of what's next for the Senate.

“So, for now, we are content to continue the ordinary business of the Senate while House Democrats continue to flounder,” McConnell said, skewering Democrats one more time.

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