January 3, 2020 / 8:22 PM / 16 days ago

Senate should set aside witness dispute and start impeachment trial - McConnell

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters as he departs the Senate floor in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. January 3, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday the Senate should begin the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump even though it has not resolved a dispute over whether top White House aides will be called as witnesses.

“We should address mid-trial questions such as witnesses after briefs, opening arguments, senator questions and other relevant motions,” McConnell said on the Senate floor as the chamber returned from a holiday break.

The Senate is due to hold a trial to consider whether Trump should be removed from office, after the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted in December to impeach the president for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival in the 2020 presidential election.

McConnell, a Republican, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have been at loggerheads since late last year over how Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate should be conducted. No date has been set for the opening of the trial.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot

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