Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coons suggested Thursday a “quid pro quo” between Senate Democrats and Republicans to have President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees confirmed quickly in exchange for delaying the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
Coons appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room” and was asked by host Wolf Blitzer if he and his fellow Senate Democrats would support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal to delay the impeachment trial to February. (RELATED: Chris Coons Says Republicans Must Repent Before There Can Be Unity)
“I think Democrats will be open to considering a delay that allows former President Trump time to assemble his legal team and his defense for the impeachment trial if we are making progress on confirming the very talented, seasoned and diverse team that President Joe Biden has nominated to serve in his Cabinet,” Coons answered.
Trump was impeached Jan. 13 by the House of Representatives but left office when his term ended on Jan. 20. The start date of the Senate trial has yet to be determined. The Senate has already started the hearing and confirmation processes for some of Biden’s nominees. As of Thursday one nominee has already been confirmed.
“These are critical positions to have filled in most administrations for decades. They are filled at the very beginning of the administration,” Coons continued. “So I would expect that we’d be more receptive to this delay if we are continuing to do the work of the Senate in confirming the senior members of the Cabinet across all departments.”
Blitzer went on to say that it sounded “doable” and made sense because it would give Trump’s defense team time to prepare.
“Wolf, let’s be clear. Not just the members of the cabinet that I listed that are the most significant in terms of national security and foreign policy. There are dozens of senior members of the administration who need to be confirmed and deserve to be confirmed,” Coons said. “If we continue to make progress in that direction, then I think this is a good step. If not, you’ll quickly find Democrats frustrated and insisting that we move ahead with the accountability that could be delivered by an impeachment trial.”
Blitzer followed up saying that it sounded “almost like a quid pro quo” before asking if that was a fair assessment.
“It is …. The administration needs to be able to move forward. To move forward filling senior vacancies in Cabinet positions all across the government, and to move forward with the bold plan of action President Biden laid out last week, his American rescue plan,” Coons concluded.