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McConnell: Impeachment trial 'diverted' attention from coronavirus crisis in China

March 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks to the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 23, 2020, as the Senate is working to pass a coronavirus relief bill. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested on Tuesday that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump distracted the US government from the growing coronavirus crisis in China.

Washington (CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested on Tuesday that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump distracted the US government from the growing coronavirus crisis in China.

In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell said that the crisis "came up while we were tied down in the impeachment trial.

And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything, every day was all about impeachment. "

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Trump said impeachment "probably did" distract him from responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

"I think I handled it very well, but I guess it probably did (distract me)," Trump said.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called for the Trump administration to declare a public health emergency at the end of January, saying in a statement on January 26 that the Department of Health and Human Services should "declare a formal public health emergency for the coronavirus" in order to "unlock tens of millions for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to access. "

McConnell defended the President on Tuesday, saying, "I think the President is doing very, very well. "

The Senate Majority Leader said that he believes Democrats are working to make the President's response "a political liability for him. "

McConnell was asked during the interview about the possibility of a "phase four" coronavirus response bill in Congress, saying, "I think we'll have to wait and see. "

"I would think any kind of bill coming out of the House I would look at like Reagan suggested we look at the Russians -- trust, but verify," McConnell said.

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