Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell Reuters

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has proposed to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial should start in mid-February, NBC News reported on Thursday.

According to the report, McConnell laid out the proposed timing during a conference call with Republican colleagues.

Included in McConnell's proposal is a deal to begin the Senate proceedings in February so both sides can properly prepare for Trump's second impeachment trial, multiple people on the call said.

Schumer could be open to the proposal, giving him more time to confirm President Joe Biden's Cabinet nominees.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), who was on the call, said his understanding was that McConnell briefed the conference before going to Schumer.

"I think we know that we want to make sure that if the Democrats are going to do this impeachment that the president has a right to due process. And in order to do that, he has to prepare a case, they've got to set up the rules and so forth, so I think it'd be very difficult to start before then," Rounds said, according to NBC News.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) also said he thinks the trial could begin mid-February.

McConnell said in a statement released later on Thursday, "Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake.”

“Given the unprecedented speed of the House's process, our proposed timeline for the initial phases includes a modest and reasonable amount of additional time for both sides to assemble their arguments before the Senate would begin to hear them,” he added.

"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," the statement said.

The House of Representatives last week voted to impeach Trump for "inciting insurrection" after a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol earlier this month, marking the second time he has been impeached.

McConnell, who at the time served as Senate Majority Leader, refused to reconvene the Senate before January 19 to allow an impeachment trial while President Trump was still in office.

Schumer officially became Senate Majority Leader on Wednesday after three new Democrats were sworn into the Senate by Vice President Kamala Harris.

The three new Democrats split the Senate 50-50 with Harris now holding the decisive vote in any tie between Republicans and Democrats.