On Dec. 18, the U.S. House impeached Donald Trump, at which point speculation shifted from the south side of the Capitol to the north side. By constitutional mandate, it would be up to the U.S. Senate to hold an impeachment trial, and the institution's members would have to decide whether to bring Trump's presidency to a premature end.
Two days later, on Dec. 20, former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post, which took the form of a letter to the retired lawmaker's former Senate Republican colleagues. Flake wrote, "President Trump is on trial. But in a very real sense, so are you. And so is the political party to which we belong."
The Arizonan was one of many stressing the same point. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told CBS News' Margaret Brennan, "It isn't just the president who's on trial in an impeachment proceeding. The Senate is on trial, and we have a constitutional responsibility." A week later, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), currently the institution's longest serving member, wrote a New York Times op-ed that added, "[I]t will not just be President Trump on trial. The Senate -- and indeed, truth itself -- will stand trial."
Last week, as the House prepared to send the articles of impeachment to the upper chamber, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) echoed the message: "The Senate is on trial as well as the president."
It's against this backdrop that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has crafted a blueprint for the trial that appears designed to ensure that Donald Trump wins and the Senate loses.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will allot each side a total of 24 hours to present their arguments in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, but the time must be confined to two working days, according to the text of his organizing resolution, which NBC News obtained Monday.
The proposal also suggests that none of the evidence collected as part of the House's impeachment inquiry will be admitted automatically. Instead, according to the text, the Senate will vote later on whether to admit any documents.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but it appears the fix is in -- or at least it will be, if McConnell's plan is implemented.