McConnell has given the same speech three days in a row complaining about the Trump impeachment trial.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spent the past three working days of the Senate complaining about demands that he hold a fair impeachment trial for Donald Trump that would force him to call witnesses and examine evidence rather than simply acquit Trump of the charges the House passed.
McConnell has given almost the same speech on the Senate floor three times, in which he complains about how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to ensure fairness in a trial by holding back the articles of impeachment as leverage.
On Friday, McConnell said in a Senate floor speech that it is a "fantasy that the speaker of the house will get to hand-design the trial proceedings in the Senate," saying that he plans to follow the rules of the 1999 impeachment trial against former President Bill Clinton.
"First, back in 1999, the Senate passed a unanimous bipartisan resolution, 100 to nothing, that set up the initial logistics, such as briefs, opening arguments, and Senators' questions. It stayed silent on mid-trial questions, such as witnesses, until the trial was actually underway. That was approved 100 to 0," McConnell said on Friday.
On Monday, McConnell gave almost the same speech.
"The Senate has a unanimous bipartisan precedent for when to handle mid-trial questions such as witnesses: In the middle of the trial," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "That is when that was done the last time, and that is the way it should be done this time."
And on Tuesday, he repeated that line almost verbatim again.
"The Senate is not about to let the Speaker corrode our own Senate process and precedents in the same way," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "The first organizing resolution for the 1999 Clinton trial was approved unanimously, 100 to nothing. It left mid-trial questions to the middle of the trial."
McConnell has continually said that questions about whether to call witnesses should be left to the middle of the trial — even though McConnell has already signaled that he doesn't plan to call witnesses and wants to acquit Trump as quickly as possible by working directly with the White House. Coordination with aides of an impeached president to help acquit him would be an unprecedented step for a senator whose oath demands that he be an impartial juror.
Meanwhile, as McConnell complains about being pressured into holding a fair trial with actual witnesses and evidence, he is sitting on hundreds of House-passed bills to help American families, including bills to lower drug prices and combat gun violence.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.