Speaking with Fox & Friends on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had some harsh words for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrats who he said have been less than impartial in their impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Responding to critics who argue that Republican senators should recuse themselves from Trump’s impeachment trial if they cannot remain impartial, McConnell suggested that the Dems themselves have been anything but, according to The Hill.
“Do you think Chuck Schumer is impartial? Do you think Elizabeth Warren is impartial? Bernie Sanders is impartial? So let’s quit the charade,” McConnell said. “This is a political exercise.”
“We’re at an impasse”
For her part, Pelosi has taken Trump’s impeachment into her own hands by failing to deliver the House’s recently passed articles to the Senate for trial. The House speaker has said she wants to be sure there will be a “fair trial” in the Senate before the process moves forward.
“[Pelosi] apparently believes that she can tell us how to run the trial,” McConnell scoffed Monday. The majority leader says he wants to run Trump’s impeachment similar to former President Bill Clinton’s 1999 trial, but he suggested to Fox & Friends that Democrats — including Schumer (D-NY), the Senate’s minority leader — have pushed back on that idea.
“You listen to the opening argument, you have a written question period, and, at that point, in the Clinton trial, we had a decision about which witnesses to call. And, as you can imagine, that was a pretty partisan exercise. But we didn’t let the partisan part of it keep us from getting started,” McConnell explained. “All I’m doing is saying what was good enough for President Clinton is good enough for President Trump.”
But according to McConnell, the Senate “can’t do anything until the speaker sends the papers over.”
“Look, we’re at an impasse,” McConnell said, according to The Hill. “So everybody, enjoy the holidays.”
A trial in the Senate
McConnell also said he is “not anxious” to have a trial, according to RealClearPolitics, and that Pelosi is welcome to hold onto the articles if she wants to.
However, the majority leader does believe Pelosi will cave at some point. “I can’t imagine what purpose is served by her holding on to the papers,” he said. “So sooner or later, I’m assuming she’s going to send them over.”
McConnell refused to say Monday who he would want to hear testify in the Senate’s trial, but he did note that the House didn’t pursue any testimony in court when the president “did what every president since George Washington has done” and exerted executive privilege to block certain subpoenas during Democrats’ inquiry earlier this year. Yet, McConnell noted, the Dems still accused Trump of obstruction of justice (as well as a vague abuse of power charge), and now, Schumer & co. are trying to call those same witnesses in the Senate.
“What…the House could have done is go to court and try to compel the attendance [of these witnesses]. They didn’t do that,” McConnell lamented. “They just blew right that and accused the president of doing something improper by simply invoking executive privilege, which every president has done.”
The question now is: Will the Dems get away with it come Election Day 2020?