Hawley proposes new rule to allow dismissal of impeachment

January 6, 2020 GMT

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri on Monday proposed a change in Senate rules that would allow the GOP-controlled chamber to dismiss President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

The proposal would empower the Senate to dismiss the articles of impeachment if the House fails to deliver them within 25 days of its impeachment vote, which was Dec. 18.

Two members of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Republican leadership team — Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming — were among the 10 senators to co-sponsor Hawley’s proposal, The Kansas City Star reported.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, has delayed sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in a bid to pressure the Senate to call witnesses for Trump’s impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“There is nothing that will stop the speaker from sitting on these articles indefinitely,” Hawley said Monday. “They could persist into the president’s second term, if and when he is reelected. That’s the situation we are now facing.”

A change to the Senate rules requires a two-thirds majority of 67 votes and Republicans hold only 53 seats in the Senate.

In response to Hawley’s proposal, Pelosi’s office referred to her earlier comments that the Senate should “proceed in a manner worthy of the Constitution and in light of the gravity of the President’s unprecedented abuses.”