Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says the Senate will not proceed with a trial until House Democrats “muster the courage” to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, ending speculation that he might hold a trial even without the articles.
In a fiery floor speech on Friday, McConnell notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that the Senate would proceed with “ordinary business” until Pelosi saw fit to actually transmit the supposedly urgent articles to them — which she has yet to do.
McConnell slams Pelosi
The Democrat-controlled House hurriedly pushed through “urgent” articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in mid-December, but Pelosi has delayed transmitting them to the Senate in an attempt to gain “leverage” and assert demands for how the Republican-controlled Senate should conduct the impeachment trial.
In his remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell mockingly cited prior quotes in opposition to impeachment from Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) — Pelosi just last year, Nadler during the Clinton impeachment in 1998. He pointed out how their positions changed as the party affiliation of the president changed.
He criticized House Democrats for their “slapdash investigation” and “Trump derangement syndrome” that involved ignoring due process and standard legal procedures in their haste to impeach President Trump.
“And then, just before the holidays, this sad spectacle took another unusual turn: As soon as the partisan impeachment votes had finished, the prosecutors began to develop cold feet. Instead of sending the articles to the Senate, they flinched,” McConnell said. “That’s right: The same people who’d just spent weeks screaming that impeachment was so serious and so urgent that it could not even wait for due process now decided it could wait indefinitely while they checked the political winds and looked for new talking points.”
Democrats’s “new talking points”
McConnell highlighted some of the “new talking points” that Democrats and their media allies were pushing, such as the presumption that Pelosi “should get to reach into the Senate and dictate our process” after botching their own.
He also address the Democrats’ sharp critiques of his coordinating “trial mechanics” with the White House even as his counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was coordinating with Pelosi and the House Democrats’ “prosecution,” not to mention the claims that senators who’ve already expressed an opinion on the impeachment matter should be disqualified to serve as jurors in the upcoming trial.
“Obviously this is all nonsense. Let me clarify Senate rules and Senate history for those who are confused. First, about this fantasy that the Speaker of the House will get to hand-design the trial proceedings in the Senate: That’s obviously a non-starter,” McConnell said, and noted that he wanted to use the same rules that had been agreed upon for the Clinton impeachment trial 20 years prior.
No time for “lectures”
McConnell also dismissed the “lectures about how senators should do our jobs” that were coming from House Democrats and the media, particularly regarding the oath of impartiality. “And no member of this body needs condescending lectures on fairness from the House Democrats who just rushed through the most unfair impeachment in modern history … or lectures on impartiality from senators who happily pre-judged the case with President Clinton and simply change their standards to suit the political winds,” McConnell said.
At the conclusion of his speech, the senator said, “Their turn is over. They have done enough damage. It’s the Senate’s turn now — to render sober judgment as the framers envisioned. But we can’t hold a trial without the articles. The Senate’s own rules don’t provide for that. So, for now, we are content to continue the ordinary business of the Senate while House Democrats continue to flounder. For now.”
“But if they ever muster the courage to stand behind their slapdash work product and transmit their articles to the Senate, it will be time for the United States Senate to fulfill our founding purpose,” McConnell added in a clear challenge to Pelosi. Watch:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes remarks on the possible Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. #FoxNews FOX News operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Radio, FOX News Headlines 24/7, FOXNews.com and the direct-to-consumer streaming service, FOX Nation.