Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is not going to give in to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-Fairytaleland) demand to hear four new witnesses during the impeachment trial in the Senate. Calling these four witnesses to testify, he said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, would set a “nightmarish precedent.”
“The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury, to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it,” McConnell said, according to The Epoch Times. He also said that he was not happy with Schumer’s decision to write him a letter and hold a press conference instead of speaking about the matter in person.
Of course, there’s a very simple reason for Schumer’s move. This isn’t about giving the president a fair trial; it’s about scoring cheap political points.
“Instead of a tried and true 1999 model—start the trial and then see how senators wish to proceed—the Democratic leader wants to write a completely new set of rules for President Trump,” McConnell continued.
“Look, most people understand what the Democratic leader is really after. He is simply trying to lock in live witnesses. That is a strange request at this juncture for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the 1999 version of Senator Schumer vocally opposed having witnesses, even when the question was raised after hours of opening arguments from the lawyers, hours of questions from senators, and a failed motion to dismiss. He favors live witnesses this time before the Senate even has articles in hand,” the Senate Majority Leader explained.
“Moreover, presumably, it will be the House prosecutor’s job to ask for the witnesses they feel they need to make the case. So why does the Democratic leader here in the Senate want to predetermine the House impeachment manager’s witness request for them before the House has even impeached the president?”
Although McConnell and other Republicans have in the past rightfully been criticized for being a bunch of spineless swamp creatures, he proved himself able to fight like a lion today. “He wants to volunteer the Senate’s time and energy on a fishing expedition to see whether his own ideas could make Chairman Schiff’s sloppy work more persuasive than Chairman Schiff himself bothered to make it,” he said while lashing out at both Schumer and Rep. Adam Schiff.
Doing so, McConnell explained, would set a “nightmarish precedent,” which is why he isn’t going to give Schumer what he wants. The Senate will judge this case based on the (non-existent) proof collected by the House. They won’t add more to it, they won’t detract from it. If Democrats believe they should’ve called more “witnesses” to testify, they should’ve done so. It’s not up to the Senate to do it for them.
Although I believe that Republicans should drag this thing out for all they can because it clearly benefits President Trump politically, there is something to say for McConnell’s strategy. First and foremost: historic precedent. Secondly, calling in more witnesses may actually do damage to Trump. Not because he committed an impeachable offense, but because they will undoubtedly smear him in any way they can. That would make the impeachment hoax a part of the Democratic presidential campaign. McConnell shouldn’t let Democrats use it for that purpose.