U.S. President Joe Biden is leaving it up to Senate Democrats to decide on whether to accept a Republican proposal for the second impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump to wait to mid-February to allow a longer lead time for all sides.
The delay was proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who argued it would allow both sides to properly prepare.
McConnell said Trump deserves "a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake."
He pointed out the unprecedented speed of the House's impeachment process, which was days after a deadly riot allegedly sparked by Trump on Jan. 6 to contest counting the votes for the Electoral College, the final step in a presidential election.
"At this time of strong political passions, Senate Republicans believe it is absolutely imperative that we do not allow a half-baked process to short-circuit the due process that former President Trump deserves or damage the Senate or the presidency," said McConnell.
The delay will also give Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) more time to confirm Biden's cabinet nominees.
As of Thursday, only Avril Haines was confirmed in her new position as Director of National Intelligence by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Bruising confirmation battles are expected for some of Biden's nominees.
Schumer hasn't decided, but his aides say they'll discuss and review McConnell's proposal.
Biden is said to be more focused on solving the country's immediate challenges, led by efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield reiterated Biden's position he will leave it up to Senate leadership to determine the mechanics and the timing of Trump's second impeachment.