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Nixon’s Former WH Counsel: Chief Justice Should ‘Kill’ McConnell’s Impeachment Trial Schedule


The rules governing the scope and schedule of President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial have become the latest partisan conflict to engulf lawmakers in Washington, with Republicans reportedly ready to move forward with a resolution that will give each side 24 total hours to present their case, split between two days. The idea was widely derided by Democrats as an attempt by the GOP of trying to conceal the trial from the public.

“We are almost certainly not going to start the trial at one o’clock in the afternoon. So then the question is: is Sen. [Mitch] McConnell going to force the House managers to present 12 hours of testimony on Wednesday that will go until two or three in the morning? That is a complete sham,” a Democratic aide told CNN. “That would be trying to hide the President’s misconduct in the dead of night rather than putting it in the light of day. It is just another example of McConnell’s efforts to cover up the president’s misconduct.”

With less than three days before the trial begins, McConnell has still not publicly disclosed the details of the proposed rules resolution, but Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) on Sunday confirmed McConnell’s proposal.

“Twenty-four hours of presentation by the House managers over two days, then 24 hours of presentation by the president’s team over two days and then 16 hours of questions submitted by the members in writing to the chief justice,” Perdue said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “The Chief Justice decides whether or not they get asked, and how they get asked, and what sequence.”

“That’s our proposal,” he said.

John Dean, the former White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon who went on to become the key prosecutorial witness in the Watergate scandal, said Chief Justice John Roberts should not allow such a proposal stand.

“Dem Hill staffers say Moscow Mitch’s refusal to provide the rules of the impeachment trial is making it difficult for House managers to prep. Meanwhile Mitch is floating rumors that House will have 24 hours and two days to make their case,” Dean wrote, adding, “Wow. CJ Robert’s shld kill that idea!”

Former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance condemned the proposal as the opposite of transparent.

“So the GOP suggestion of 12 hour trial days (ending at 2 to 3 am with breaks factored in) seems designed for transparency & to encourage citizens to be engaged, right?,” she asked.

Julie Zebrak, the former Senior Advisor to the Deputy Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) also called the proposed rules “ridiculous.”

[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.