WASHINGTON – Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is proposing to push back the start of Donald Trump's impeachment trial by a week or more to give the former president time to review the case.
House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riots have signaled they want a quick trial as President Joe Biden begins his term, saying a full reckoning is necessary before the country – and Congress – can move on.
But McConnell told his fellow GOP senators on a call Thursday that a short delay would give Trump time to prepare and stand up his legal team, ensuring due process.
Indiana Sen. Mike Braun said after the call that the trial might not begin “until sometime mid-February.” He said that was “due to the fact that the process as it occurred in the House evolved so quickly, and that it is not in line with the time you need to prepare for a defense in a Senate trial.”
Nuclear treaty extension sought
President Joe Biden has proposed to Russia a five-year extension of a nuclear arms treaty that is otherwise set to expire in February, the White House said Thursday.
Biden proposed the extension even as he asked the intelligence community to look closely into Russia's cyberattacks, its alleged interference in the 2020 election and other actions, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
Russia has said for some time that it would welcome an extension of the New START treaty, which limits the number of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons. The Trump administration made a late bid to extend the treaty, but its conditions were rejected by Russia.
Retired general wins waiver
Retired Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin was speeding toward confirmation as secretary of defense Thursday, as Congress waived a law prohibiting recently retired officers from holding the post, in anticipation of a Senate vote on his nomination.
The House voted 326-78 to waive the statute barring retired officers from leading the Pentagon unless they have been out of uniform for at least seven years.
Roughly an hour later, the Senate voted 69-27 to approve the waiver, clearing the way for a vote on the nomination, which will occur today.