December 19, 2019

COCAINE MITCH: McConnell Rips Apart Democrats’ ‘Partisan Crusade’ on the Floor of the Senate.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): This is interesting, and sounds like McConnell may be setting things up for the Senate to reject the House articles as not stating an impeachable offense:

“House Democrats want to create new rules for this president because they feel uniquely enraged,” he argued. “This is by far the thinnest basis for any House-passed presidential impeachment in American history.” He condemned it as “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.”

McConnell noted that Pelosi is considering not sending the articles of impeachment over to the U.S. Senate. After rushing through the process of impeachment in the House, “they’re content to sit on their hands.”

“The Democrats’ own actions concede their allegations are unproven. The allegations are not just unproven, they’re also legally incoherent,” he said. “If the Senate blesses this historically low bar, we will invite the impeachment of every single future president.” . . .

McConnell dismissed both articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The first article “does not even purport to allege any actual claim,” instead using “the vague phrase ‘abuse of power’ to impugn the president’s action in a general way.” He argued that this followed exactly what the Founders warned against — impeachment for maladministration.

The second article involves Trump’s supposed obstruction by going to the courts to challenge congressional subpoenas.

“It’s not a constitutional crisis for a House to want more information than a president wants to give up,” McConnell explained. Indeed, this kind of legal battle is “a routine occurrence.” In the case of Bill Clinton, Congress went to the courts.

“This takes time, it’s inconvenient. That’s actually the point. Due process is not meant to maximize the convenience of the prosecutor, it’s meant to protect the accused,” the Republican leader insisted. “Fourteen months of hearings for Richard Nixon; years of investigation for Bill Clinton; twelve weeks for Donald Trump.”

McConnell did not say whether the Senate would take up the trial and call witnesses who might explain Trump’s side of the story on Ukraine.

The Republican leader’s historic speech did indeed echo the Founders, who warned against impeachment based on partisan strength rather than real crimes.

The way it’s set up, the House can impeach for whatever it chooses, but it’s up to the Senate to decide whether the House has stated an impeachable offense. And by dismissing the articles on this basis, there’s no need for a Senate trial. Trump would like a trial to get his side out, but it’s not as if the Senate is the only place he can do that. And part of the Dems’ strategy is to make it harder for Trump to fill a Supreme Court seat if (when?) one opens up before January 2021. And we know McConnell is focused on judicial appointments. Anyway, stay tuned.

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