The impeachment of Donald Trump has set a “toxic” precedent, the Senate majority leader has said.
Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, said the impeachment in the House of Representatives of the US president was “unfair”.
He said Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, had “failed the country” and sought to reassure the president and his supporters that “moments like this are why the United States Senate exists”.
Mr McConnell said “if the Senate blesses the historically low bar, we invite the impeachment of every future president”.
Last night, the House, which is controlled by the Democrats, voted to impeach on both charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after hours of debate.
This meant that Donald Trump is now the third US president in the country’s history to be impeached.
After the House of Representatives’ vote, the action moves to the Senate where a trial will be held in order to establish whether Mr Trump should be removed from office.
However, in an unusual move for an unusual moment in US politics, after Ms Pelosi refused to say when or whether she would send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial.
She said there needed to be clearer picture of how the Senate would conduct proceedings and that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were negotiating over the conduct of the trial.
Speaking on Thursday, Ms Pelosi, in a bright red outfit, said the actions in the House left her with “a spring in her step”. Her words were in contrast to her sombre tone and dark dress worn on Wednesday as she opened the debate.
Tweeting while Ms Pelosi was speaking, Mr Trump said: “Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up! The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!”
His words were echoed by her Senate rival Mr McConnell, who has now accused Ms Pelosi of being afraid to send “their shoddy work product to the Senate”.
On Tuesday, Mr McConnell rejected a proposal from his Democrat colleague Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to call several witnesses.
Mr McConnell said he is coordinating with the White House and added: “I am not an impartial juror.”
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Mr Schumer, speaking on Thursday after the vote, asked why Mr McConnell was “so afraid” of “relevant witnesses and documents” being included in a trial.
He asked his colleagues across the floor: “Do they want a fair trial, or do you want the president to do whatever he wants regardless of the rule of law, regardless of the consequences?”
Mr Schumer says if the Senate fails to remove Mr Trump from office, then it will be remembered as one of the Senate’s “darkest chapters”.
Many Republicans in the debate on Wednesday night argued they believe the president has not committed any crimes and that the Democrats were seeking to remove him because they do not like this character.
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