March 6, 2021

McConnell’s home newspaper calls him out for two possible oath violations over impeachment

McConnell's public statements have led senators and now his home newspaper to criticize his handling of impeachment even before it comes to the Senate.

The day after Christmas 2019, America is back to the grave business at hand, impeaching the 45th president. A new MSN poll shows that public support for removing Trump from office is the highest ever. In addition, support for Senate Majority Leader McConnell, who has publicly stated he is in “total coordination” with the White House on impeachment, is also falling at home.

Today, December 26, his hometown newspaper, the Courier-Journal published an op-ed declaring that McConnell may be violating not one, but two oaths of office as he seems intent to obstruct the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

The op-ed is by Kent Greenfield, a sixth-generation Kentuckian, and professor of law at Boston College. Greenfield calls on the people of his home state to honor the Kentucky tradition of “our word is our bond” or face serious reputational consequences.

Trump is accused of violating his sworn oath of office to “faithfully execute the Office of the President … and … preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.” He is also accused of violating Article II that he “shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Trump is accused of violating his oath to faithfully honor the highest law of the land, the Constitution.

“These are the only two times in the Constitution that faithfulness is mentioned. It is the central presidential obligation. The opposite of faithfulness? Corruption and abuse of power. And those constitutional sins, of course, are exactly the basis of the House’s vote to impeach President Trump and will be the focus of the Senate’s trial,” write Greenfield.

By refusing to conduct a fair, impartial trial in the Senate, McConnell may be violating two oaths. The first violation is to Article VI, in which the Kentucky senator swore to “support this Constitution,” the “supreme law of the Land.

“Like all U.S. senators, congressional representatives, state governors and judges, and other officials, Sen. Mitch McConnell took this oath when he took office.”

Next, Greenfield identifies a more obscure third oath in Article I of the Constitution.

“The third oath is the rarest. In Article I, the Constitution gives the Senate the “sole” power to “try all impeachments,” and the Constitution requires that “when sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.” This special oath only kicks in when the Senate tries an impeachment, and this will be only the third time when a president has been so tried. The framers wanted to make sure the Senate would never take such a trial lightly — this oath requirement is over and above the oath each senator has already taken to support the Constitution.

The Constitution does not set out the text of the trial oath, but the Senate rules do. Senators will “solemnly swear … that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.”

Senator Kamal Harris has called McConnell’s approach a “Senate cover-up.”

By showing blatant partisan loyalty to Trump, McConnell has ignored his more important loyalty to the Constitution. McConnell is the Senate Majority Leader with the “sole power to try” Trump’s impeachment. If he fails to uphold that duty, then he places the nation in yet another constitutional crisis that the Founders perhaps never envisioned.

Fortunately, McConnell’s behavior has caused Republican swing voters, such as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to question McConnell’s behavior.

From the Washington Post:

“Murkowski told KTUU she is committed to observing Trump’s trial objectively. It would be ‘wrong,’ she said, ‘to prejudge and say there’s nothing there.’ To jump to conclusions about Trump’s guilt would also be unfair, Murkowski added.”

If remaining swing-voter Republican senators join forces, they could block McConnell from conducting an unfair trial and even call for a secret ballot. There are some indications that a secret ballot could result in Trump’s abrupt removal from office. However unlikely that is, more and more Americans cling to the hopes that the Constitution will prevail in the end.

See McConnell state that he is “not an impartial juror” below:

Featured image: Altered screenshot via YouTube

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