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GOP senators introduce resolution to change rules, dismiss impeachment without articles

Roughly a dozen GOP senators want to change the Senate’s rules and allow for lawmakers to dismiss articles of impeachment against President Trump before the House sends them over.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced the resolution on Monday, arguing the Senate's impeachment rules do not envision a scenario where the House would delay transmitting articles against a president, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has done. 

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 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 3, 2020. VOA

"The Constitution gives the Senate sole power to adjudicate articles of impeachment, not the House. If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case, the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business," Hawley said in a statement.
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The resolution would give the House 25 days to send articles of impeachment over to the Senate. After that, a senator could offer a motion to dismiss "with prejudice for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute such articles" with a simple majority vote, according to Hawley's proposal.
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The resolution comes as some Senate Republicans have mulled changing the chamber's rules to allow them to dismiss the impeachment charges against Trump, even though the articles have not been sent over from the House.
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Hawley's resolution has support from GOP Sens. Rick Scott (Fla.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Steve Daines (Mont.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.) and James Inhofe (Okla.).
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"Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have made a mockery of our Constitution and abused impeachment for political gain. Now, they’re undermining the role of the Senate by attempting to dictate the terms of the Senate’s trial," Cruz said in a statement.
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Perdue added that "if the House refuses to send over the articles, the Senate should have the ability to dismiss and move on to finding real solutions for the American people.”
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Talk of the Senate either trying to start Trump's trial without the articles, or dismiss them before they have formally been sent across the Capitol, has bounced across Washington as lawmakers have waited for Pelosi to reveal her next move.
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The House Speaker has not tipped her hand on when she will send the articles, saying last month that she wanted more details on the rules for the trial. Democrats expect she will eventually send the articles, potentially as soon as this week.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said over the weekend that he would try to work with McConnell “to change the rules of the Senate to start the trial without her, if necessary.”

But McConnell and his staff have repeatedly shot down talk of starting the trial before the articles are sent to the Senate.

“We can’t hold a trial without the articles. The Senate’s own rules don’t provide for that. So, for now, we are content to continue the ordinary business of the Senate,” McConnell said on Friday.

Asked last week how realistic the idea was that the Senate could start a trial without the articles, a spokesman for McConnell replied: “Zero percent.”
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