Members of the Republican Party in the US Senate are asking the Democrats to delay the start of former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial until February.
On a call to his fellow Republican senators on Thursday, Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said he had asked that Democrats in the House of Representatives to hold off sending the single impeachment article to the Senate until 28 January – a move which would kick-start the trial’s first phase.
They claim that this will give Mr Trump time to prepare a defence.
Under this timetable, Mr Trump would then have two weeks – until 11 February – to submit his pre-trial defence. Arguments would be expected to begin in mid-February.
Republicans, who as of Wednesday no longer control the Senate, need the new Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to agree to the idea.
“Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake,” Mr McConnell said in a statement on Thursday.
Mr Schumer’s office has not yet released a statement on Mr McConnell’s proposal.
The former US president is accused of inciting insurrection after his supporters stormed the Capitol this month to stop the certification of the November 3, 2020 presidential election result.
The then-president on 6 January told protesters near the White House to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard as they prepared to march towards the US Capitol building. He also told them to “fight like hell”.
The Democrats in the House of Representatives have indicated that they are ready to hand the charge to the Senate.
Ten Republicans sided with House Democrats in impeaching the outgoing president on 14 January.
Even though Democrats now narrowly control the Senate, they would need the support of at least 17 Republicans in order to convict Mr Trump, because a two-thirds vote is required.
A handful of Senate Republicans have indicated that they are open to conviction, but most have either cast doubt on the legality of trying a president after he has left office, or said the process would further divide an already heated country.
Additional reporting from the BBC