Republican Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell has rejected requests to bring back the US Senate early in order to begin impeachment proceedings of US President Donald Trump.
The Democrat party had pressed the Kentucky Senator to recall the Senate, according to the Wall Street Journal, before January 19, to receive an article of impeachment that the US President had incited an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.
A spokesman for the US Senator confirmed he will not use emergency powers to reconvene the chamber next week.
Speaking yesterday, Democrat Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, said: I've asked him to call the Senate back. All he needs is my agreement – I'm still Minority Leader – and his agreement, he's Majority Leader.
"We could come back ASAP and vote to convict Donald Trump and get him out of office now before any further damage is done."
CNN has reported US President-elect Joe Biden had asked Senator McConnell to hold impeachment proceedings at the same time as confirmation hearings for his Cabinet nominations so as to not to delay his legislative agenda.
Congress is expected to vote this evening on impeaching Trump following last week’s riot in the U.S. Capitol, and House Democratic leaders have said they could send it to the Senate as soon as this week.
Democrats said a 2004 law allows for the emergency return of the chamber provided both House leaders agree.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump represents a “clear and present danger” to the nation and must be impeached.
Ms Pelosi says in a House speech that members of Congress and the country as a whole “experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the people’s Capitol and attempted to overturn the duly recorded will of the American people″ in the presidential election.
She said: “We know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection this armed rebellion against our common country.
“He must go.
“He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.″
Ms Pelosi said Mr Trump has “repeatedly lied” about the outcome of the election that he lost to Democrat Joe Biden and Mr Trump has “sowed self-serving doubt about democracy and unconstitutionally sought to influence state officials to repeat this armed rebellion against our country″.
The US House of Representatives has opened its proceedings, poised to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time exactly a week after his supporters stormed the Capitol to protest his election defeat.
At least five Republicans have said they will join Democrats in voting to remove Mr Trump from office.
The article of impeachment charges the president with “incitement of insurrection”.
The House chaplain opened the session on Wednesday with a prayer for “seizing the scales of justice from the jaws of mob-ocracy”.
A vote is expected by the end of the day.
Already scheduled to leave office next week, Mr Trump is on the verge of becoming the only president in history to be impeached twice.
His incendiary rhetoric at a rally ahead of the Capitol uprising is now in the impeachment charge against him even as the falsehoods he spread about election fraud are still being championed by some Republicans.
The House on Tuesday night approved a Democrat-led resolution urging Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Mr Trump with a cabinet vote, although the vice president had already said he would not do so.
The resolution, passed 223-205 almost entirely along party lines, urged him to “declare what is obvious to a horrified nation: That the president is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office”.
Mr Pence had told House speaker Nancy Pelosi it would not be in the best interest of the nation and it was “time to unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate president-elect Joe Biden”.
But five Republican legislators, including third-ranking House Republican leader Liz Cheney, announced they would vote to impeach on Wednesday, cleaving the Republican leadership and the party itself.
“The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” said Ms Cheney in a statement.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege.
Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.
Legislators had to scramble for safety and hide as rioters took control of the Capitol and delayed by hours the last step in finalising Joe Biden’s victory.
Mr Trump showed no remorse on Tuesday, warning legislators off impeachment and suggesting it was the drive to oust him that was dividing the country.
“To continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country,” he said.
In his first remarks to reporters since last week’s violence, the outgoing president offered no condolences for those dead or injured, only saying: “I want no violence.”
Mr Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — in the impeachment resolution after the most serious and deadly domestic incursion at the Capitol in the nation’s history.
Republican representatives John Katko, Adam Kinzinger, Fred Upton and Jaime Herrera Beutler announced they would vote to impeach.
More ominously for a president clinging to his final week in office, the New York Times reported that influential Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks Mr Trump committed an impeachable offence and is glad Democrats are moving against him.
Though a handful of House Republicans will join the impeachment vote it is far from clear if there would then be the two-thirds vote needed to convict from the narrowly divided Senate.