In a speech from the Senate floor Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) slammed the House's adoption of articles of impeachment as a "predetermined end" to a "partisan crusade," but did not give any specifics about the impending trial to be held in the Senate.
McConnell's statement comes hours after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump in a vote that was largely along party lines. All but two Democrats voted in favor of the articles; no Republicans voted in favor.
McConnell warned the impeachment risked "deeply damaging" institutions in the United States and claimed it could open the door for more partisan impeachments in the future.
"If the Senate blesses this historically low bar (of impeachment), we will invite the impeachment of every future president," McConnell said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), responded shortly thereafter, claiming McConnell failed to offer a defense for President Trump's actions in McConnell's 30-minute speech.
Schumer also slammed Trump's decision to not participate in impeachment proceedings, and said Democrats would welcome the Trump administration to offer their own defense.
"Why is (McConnell) so afraid of relevant witnesses and documents?" Scumer said. "...can none of the president's men come defend him under oath?"
McConnell also claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was "afraid" to send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate for a trial. Pelosi said Wednesday night that the House would delay sending the articles to the Senate until she could get assurances that the Senate would hold a fair trial.
Last week, McConnell told news outlets that he is openly conferring with White House counsel on defenses for Trump. The comments sparked a call among Democrat lawmakers for McConnell to recuse himself during the Senate trial.