McConnell complains about letter from Democrats asking for fair impeachment trial

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The Senate majority leader lamented Democrats' decision to speak about the trial on TV, despite doing the very same thing himself just days earlier.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday accused his Democratic counterpart, Chuck Schumer, of not being collegial, after Schumer sent a letter laying out his demand for a fair impeachment trial against Donald Trump.

In the letter, Schumer said that a fair trial would include testimony from top White House officials whom Trump blocked previously from testifying, and said that he hopes that those witnesses will be heard.

McConnell — who just days earlier went on Fox News to say he is working with the White House to rig the impeachment trial in Trump's favor — said it was inappropriate for Schumer to send the letter.

"Over the weekend, the Democratic leader decided to short-circuit the customary and collegial process of laying basic groundwork in advance of a potential impeachment trial," McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor. "The preferable path would have been an in person conversation, wish nonetheless I still hope to pursue. Instead, he chose to begin by writing me an 11-paragraph letter on Sunday evening, deliver it by way of the news media, and then begin a cable television campaign a few hours later."

Of course, there is no set of rules dictating how an impeachment trial gets set up. There have only been two impeachment trials in American history, and one took place in 1868.

McConnell himself appeared on television last week to discuss his desires for the impeachment trial, exactly what he accused Schumer of on Tuesday.

Schumer has since responded to McConnell's speech, calling out the hypocrisy in the majority leader's comments.

"If we were allowed to show a video here on the Senate floor of the Republican leader's appearance on Sean Hannity's program last week, it would expose the fallacy of his argument," Schumer said in his own speech on the Senate floor. "Leader McConnell unfortunately skipped his first step when he began publicly discussing the rules of a Senate trial, telling Hannity that he'd be taking cues from the White House."

McConnell has vowed to not call any new witnesses in the impeachment trial, meaning that key aides like acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton will not testify.

Trump is facing two articles of impeachment, which the full House is expected to vote on Wednesday: one for abuse of power related to his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and to withhold critical aid to the country to secure such an investigation, and one for obstruction of Congress. The latter article relates to Trump's efforts to impede the House impeachment inquiry by blocking witness testimony and withholding information from congressional investigators.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.