Mitch McConnell’s no-nonsense approach to impeachment has put an end to his party’s stand-off with Democrats.
Now, the Republican leader is preparing to move on to a Senate trial, sans the concessions Democrats had sought, according to Breitbart. Democrats voted to transmit articles of impeachment to his chamber Wednesday, marking the end of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) effort to shame McConnell (R-KY) into committing to a pre-trial agreement on allowing more witnesses and evidence.
The majority leader announced that the Senate could take up the charges against President Donald Trump as soon as Tuesday, CNBC reported.
The end of the standoff
After weeks of stalemate, the House voted almost along party lines this week to break the impasse and appoint impeachment managers to prosecute the case against Trump. House Democrats named Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), as well as five other members of their caucus, to lead the charge, according to The Hill.
The vote marks a victory for McConnell, who resisted demands from Pelosi for nearly a month to guarantee a “fair” process. The stalemate pitted two politicians noted for their political savvy against each other, but in the end, Pelosi blinked first.
The impasse broke last week when McConnell said he had enough votes to start a trial without any agreement on witnesses. Pelosi, for her part, has sought to strike a triumphant pose, declaring dramatically, according to Fox, that Trump has been “impeached forever” — regardless of what happens next.
“He’s been impeached forever,” she said. “They can never erase that.”
Ready to fight for Trump
Throughout the fight, McConnell showered contempt on the impeachment proceedings, which he called a partisan exercise that he did not feel obliged to dignify with a protracted trial. In comments Wednesday, McConnell defended the president and warned that Democrats were setting a dangerous standard.
“Speaker Pelosi and the House have taken our nation down a dangerous road,” McConnell said, according to The Hill. “If the Senate blesses this unprecedented and dangerous House process by agreeing that an incomplete case and subjective basis are enough to impeach a president, we will almost guarantee the impeachment of every future president.”
Meanwhile, Democrats have continued to accuse McConnell of staging a “cover-up” in coordination with Trump of the president’s supposed crimes, apparently in an effort to continue pressuring Republican senators to allow witness testimony or else tar Trump and his party before the 2020 election. But McConnell has fired back that Democrats want the Senate to finish an investigation they never bothered to fully complete in the House — undercutting the very legitimacy of the impeachment, which was therefore based on an incomplete record.
“If the existing case is strong, there’s no need for the judge and the jury to reopen the investigation. If the existing case is weak, House Democrats should not have impeached in the first place,” McConnell said Tuesday, according to The Hill.
Testimony from Hunter Biden?
While McConnell has said that he doesn’t want to dismiss the impeachment articles outright, he is eager to move on with as little formality — and as few witnesses — as needed. A handful of moderate Republican senators have expressed misgivings with his approach, but the Senate leader has said that he doesn’t anticipate there being enough defections to satisfy the Democrats’ demands.
It is possible, though, and in that event, McConnell is not ruling out an even more debased partisan circus. The Republican lawmaker signaled that Republicans would certainly call witnesses like Hunter Biden if Democrats have a chance to call theirs, according to Fox.
Nancy Pelosi may be known for her craftiness, but it seems she met her match this time.