WASHINGTON - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that his chamber will have "no choice" but to hold an impeachment trial if articles of impeachment were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
"I would have no choice but to take it up, based on a Senate rule on impeachment," McConnell told U.S. media in an interview.
The remarks affirmed that the Republican controlled Senate will not shun consideration of the articles of impeachment, should any pass the House as a result of the ongoing investigation into whether a phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart mounted to impeachable offense.
The U.S. House of Representatives announced last week to launch impeachment investigations, after a whistleblower's complaint alerted lawmakers about the phone call.
According to a description of the content of the phone call released by the White House, Trump said he would like the Ukrainian government to investigate a corruption allegation against Hunter Biden, son of former U.S. Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The request raised concerns among many in the United States that by seeking foreign effort to undermine one of his top political opponents, Trump is opening doors to foreign intervention to the upcoming presidential election.
Trump has denied the allegation, calling the impeachment effort "The Greatest Witch Hunt in the history of our Country" on twitter.
According to U.S. impeachment rules, if a simple majority of House members vote in favor of impeaching a sitting president, the case moves to the Senate, where two-thirds of the vote is needed to remove the sitting president.
With Republicans, who are largely supportive of Trump, in the majority in the Senate, it will be difficult to garner 67 votes for Trump's removal.
Two U.S. presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached by the House of Representatives, but both were acquitted in the subsequent trials held by the Senate. Another president, Richard Nixon, resigned as Congress was set to impeach him after the Watergate scandal.(FA)