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Pa. Senate outlines next steps on Krasner impeachment; trial to start in January

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Pa. Senate outlines next steps on Krasner impeachment; trial to start in January

Nov 23, 2022 | 3:32 pm ET
By John L. Micek
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Pa. Senate outlines next steps on Krasner impeachment; trial to start in January
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District Attorney Larry Krasner (Jared Piper/Philadelphia City Council/City & State Pa.).

The Republican-controlled state Senate will begin impeachment proceedings against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in January, and will meet next week to clear a series of procedural hurdles, GOP leaders said Wednesday.

“The Senate’s Constitutional obligations are clear, so we are prepared to fulfill our duties and continue the impeachment process of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner next week,” outgoing Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, said in a statement. “The plan is to call the Senate back to session and convene for two days, Tues, Nov. 29 and Wed, Nov. 30, to officially begin our role in this process.”

The Republican-controlled state House voted 107-85 to impeach Krasner, a Democrat, on Nov. 16, charging that he engaged in misconduct in office and obstructed a House committee investigation. Krasner has dismissed the charges as groundless, and has accused Republicans of trying to “silence” city voters who overwhelmingly re-elected him in 2021.

Krasner hits GOP in post-impeachment presser

“Never in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has there ever been an effort to impeach or remove from office someone for their policies, someone for their ideas,” Krasner said at the Monday press conference held at Philadelphia City Hall.

Under the state Constitution, impeachment trials take place in the state Senate. The last person successfully to be convicted by the Senate was former state Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen more than quarter-century ago

In their statement, Republicans said the state’s foundational document requires them to take three procedural steps next week.

First, lawmakers will vote on a series of resolutions.

The first, setting the rules of impeachment, will be considered on Tuesday, Republican leaders said, adding that they are “modeled after the Congressional rules of impeachment and reflect the precedent set” in Larsen’s 1993 impeachment.

On Tuesday, the chamber also will take up a resolution officially inviting the three House impeachment managers — Republican Reps. Craig Williams, and Tim Bonner and Democrat Jared Solomon, along with the House’s Sergeant at Arms to present the impeachment articles to the Senate. That resolution will be offered by new Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairperson Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne, Senate GOP leaders said in their statement.

On Wednesday, the House managers and Sergeant at Arms will “officially present the articles of impeachment to the Senate at which time an oath will be taken by all members of the Senate to officially begin the process,” Republicans said.

After those procedural motions, the final resolution, a writ of summons for Krasner, will be put to a vote. If it’s passed, the writ will be issued to Krasner to answer to the articles. Krasner will have until Dec. 21 to file his answer, and will be ordered to appear before the chamber on Jan. 18 at 11:30 a.m., GOP leaders said.

In a statement, a Senate GOP spokesperson underlined the fact that the chamber is required to take up the impeachment articles approved by the House.

“Because we are the judge and jury, it is a mandatory requirement/obligation for the Senate to take up the impeachment proceeding as outlined in the constitution,” the spokesperson, Erica Clayton Wright, said.