US Senate fails to advance Republican Covid-19 relief bill. Image Source: IANS News

Washington, Jan 22 : Mitch McConnell, the US Senate Republican leader, has proposed that former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial should be delayed until mid-February so as to give him enough time to prepare a defense.

On a conference call with Republican senators on Thursday, McConnell suggested "Trump should have at least as much time as the president had in previous trials, which means he would like to postpone the proceeding until the second week of February", reports Xinhua news agency.

"It would have been the 10th or 11th (of February) or somewhere in there," Senator Mike Braun, who was on the call, said.

McConnell on Thursday said he hadn't heard back from Democrats on postponing the trial.

"Not yet, we're going to continue to talk about it," he said.

"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," McConnell said in a statement.

Earlier this month, McConnell told Republican senators that under the Senate's impeachment rules, a trial is required to begin the day after the House managers present the articles of impeachment to the upper chamber.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference on Thursday that the House was "ready" to begin the trial but would wait until the Senate was prepared before formally transmitting the impeachment article.

"They have now informed us they are ready to receive, the question is other questions about how a trial will proceed, but we are ready," Pelosi said of the Senate.

The Democrats-controlled House voted to impeach Trump over "incitement of insurrection" in a 232-197 vote on January 13, making him the first President to be impeached twice.

The impeachment resolution cited Trump's speech to supporters on January 6 that was followed by some of the crowd breaching the Capitol building to interrupt Congress's certification of the 2020 election results as evidence of his "incitement of insurrection".

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