Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called it a “fantasy” that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would influence the Senat impeachment trial of President Trump.
From the Hill:
“‘We’ve heard it claimed that the same House Democrats who botched their own process should get to reach over here into the Senate and dictate our process,’ McConnell said from the Senate floor.”
“‘Let me clarify Senate rules and Senate history for those who may be confused,’ McConnell added. ‘First, about this fantasy that the Speaker of the House will get to hand-design the trial proceedings in the Senate, that’s obviously a non-starter.'”
Pelosi has held off on sending articles of impeachment passed by the House to the Senate after McConnell publicly stated he would be in “total coordination” with the White House.
The Senator’s home newspaper, the Courier-Journal, called him out for two possible oath violations over his statements. A sixth-generation Kentuckian, and professor of law at Boston College, Kent Greenfield, suggested the violations go against Article VI and Article I of the Constitution.
On Thursday, a Just Security exclusive report revealed new information about email communications between officials from the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget. The report exposed a long chain of communications expressing alarm and anxiety that the President could violate the law by holding up $391 million in military assistance for Ukraine.
The Justice Department redacted comments showing the official’s red flags when the emails were initially released to the public.
In light of the new reporting, Pelosi accused McConnell of “doubling-down” on violating his oaths of office and of serving as an accomplice in a cover-up.
From the Hill:
“‘Today, Leader McConnell made clear that he will feebly comply with President Trump’s cover-up of his abuses of power and be an accomplice to that cover-up,’ Pelosi said in a statement.”
“‘Leader McConnell is doubling down on his violation of his oath, even after the exposure of new, deeply incriminating documents this week which provide further evidence of what we know: President Trump abused the power of his office for personal, political gain,’ Pelosi added.”
Today, @SenateMajLdr McConnell made clear that he will feebly comply with President Trump’s cover-up of his abuses of power and be an accomplice to that cover-up. The American people deserve the truth. #DefendOurDemocracy https://t.co/QpVwYwAtBe
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 3, 2020
McConnell has denied that he has any obligation to serve as an impartial juror in a Trump trial, saying:
“A senator’s role in an impeachment trial is nothing, nothing like the job of jurors in the legal system.”
We can’t hold a trial without the articles. The Senate’s own rules don’t provide for that. So, for now, we are content to continue the ordinary business of the Senate while House Democrats continue to flounder. For now.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) January 3, 2020
The Senator from Kentucky has said that he personally doesn’t believe witnesses need to be called, but it won’t be entirely up to him.
If four Republican Senators vote with Democrats, they could together ensure that witnesses and documents are presented. According to the Hill report, just three Republican Senators could prevent McConnell from “moving to vote on the two articles of impeachment without calling witnesses.”
Legal expert, Neal Katyal has stated on Twitter that Chief Justice Roberts may trump McConnell during the impeachment trial.
“Chief Justice Roberts will strive to do impartial justice, even if McConnell won’t,” stated Katyal.
More about McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Schumer’s statements about the impeachment trial from CGTN below:
Featured image: Screenshots via YouTube