Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has recently taken a lot of heat from Democrats for saying that he will be “coordinating” with the White House regarding impeachment. The funny thing is, as one Fox reporter has pointed out, if anyone knows about coordinating during impeachment proceedings, it is the Democrats.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw published an article on Friday explaining the extent to which the Democrats coordinated during President Bill Clinton’s Senate trial back in 1999.
Just following precedent
Shaw cited a book by Peter Baker called The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton.
“According to Baker, one of those arrangements involved White House Counsel Charles Ruff arranging a ‘secret signal’ with Democratic leadership,” Shaw wrote. “If Ruff wanted to rebut anything from the Republican House managers, something rules didn’t allow for, he pre-arranged with then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle’s aides for a senator to submit a question to then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist asking the White House to respond.”
The book also detailed how then-Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, spoke with Clinton and helped organize a pressure campaign in defeating Sen. Susan Collins’, R-Maine., attempt to adopt ‘findings of fact’ by which the Senate could take a majority vote on whether Clinton lied under oath and impeded discovery of evidence even if the chamber failed to convict him. Baker described how Clinton ‘tracked down Harkin in the Democratic cloakroom during a break in the trial to vent his outrage’ at what Collins was cooking up.
And the list continues: Shaw cites Baker on how the Democrats recruited “a crew of Democratic lawyers to help puncture holes in the [pro-impeachment] case” and how Democratic senators “decided it was better to concentrate on sending softball questions to the White House lawyers so they could score rhetorical points.”
That’s some big-time coordination right there.
McConnell in the crosshairs
McConnell has been facing the criticism from Democrats ever since an interview he gave with Sean Hannity earlier this month, in which he promised to coordinate with the White House on the trial.
“Everything I do during this, I will be coordinating with White House counsel,” McConnell said. “There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.”
What exactly this means is unclear. But the Democrats pounced on McConnell, starting with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Saying you’re going to do just what the president wants is totally out of line and Mitch McConnell has received a lot of justified criticism for that,” Schumer said.
One Republican, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also joined in, saying, “When I heard that, I was disturbed.”
I wonder if Schumer and others would be as critical of McConnell’s statement after they are reminded that McConnell is just following the precedent established by Democrats. What goes around comes around.