McConnell Targets ‘Partisan Rage’ of Democratic House; Senate Must Serve Its ‘Fever-Breaking Role’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

( – “Speaker Pelosi’s House just gave into a temptation that every other House in history has managed to resist,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday. “They impeached a president whom they do not even allege has committed an actual crime known to our laws.”

McConnell (R-Ky.), in a lengthy, detailed speech, discussed what he called “the most rushed, least thorough and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.”

He accused Democrats of engaging in “partisan rage” at the outcome of the 2016 election, and he said the Senate must serve the “fever-breaking role” that the Constitution gives it.

McConnell called the “slap-dash process” in the House “the first purely partisan presidential impeachment since the wake of the Civil War.

The opposition to impeachment was bipartisan. Only one part of one faction wanted this outcome. The House’s conduct risks deeply damaging the institutions of American government. This particular House of Representatives has let its partisan rage at this particular president create a toxic new precedent that will echo well into the future.

That’s what I want to discuss right now. The historic degree to which House Democrats have failed to do their duty and what it will mean for the Senate to do ours.

McConnell noted that some of the impeachment talk among Democrats began even before Donald Trump was inaugurated.  He gave examples of calls for impeachment that began three years ago.

So let’s be clear. The House’s vote yesterday was not some neutral judgment that Democrats came to with great reluctance.

It was the pre-determined end of a partisan crusade that began before President Trump was even nominated, let alone sworn in.

For the very first time in modern history, we’ve seen a political faction in Congress promise from the moment — the moment a president election ended — they would find some way to overturn him. A few months ago, Democrats’ year-long search of articles found its way to the subject of Ukraine.

McConnell described Rep. Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry in the House intelligence committee as a sham.

Chairman Schiff’s inquiry was poisoned bipartisanship from the outset. Its procedures and parameters were unfair in unprecedented ways. Democrats tried to make chairman Schiff into a de facto special prosecutor, notwithstanding he is a partisan member of Congress who had already engaged in strange and biased behavior.

He scrapped the precedent to cut the minority out of the process. He denied president trump the same sorts of procedural rights that houses of both parties had provided to past presidents of both parties. President trump’s counsel could not participate in chairman Schiff’s hearings, present evidence, or cross-examine witnesses.

The House Judiciary Committee’s crack at this was even more ahistorical. It was like the speaker called up chairman Nadler and ordered one impeachment, rush delivery, please. The committee found no facts on its own. Did nothing to verify the Schiff report. Their only witnesses were liberal law professors and congressional staffers.

McConnell said there’s a reason the Nixon and Clinton impeachment inquiries took many, many months – even years in Clinton’s case.

But the rush to impeach Trump has happened in “just 12 weeks.”

“They’ve impeached simply because they disagree with a presidential act and question the motive behind it,” McConnell said.

McConnell knocked down the two articles of impeachment.  Abuse of power and contempt of Congress were all that their “rushed and rigged inquiry could generate.”

McConnell said even Democrats are showing signs of being “uneasy” with their work product. He pointed to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s demand that the Senate “redo House Democrats’ homework for them” by calling certain witnesses.

And now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested a delay in sending the articles to the Senate for trial, McConnell noted.  “They said impeachment was so urgent that it could not even wait for due process, but now they’re content to sit on their hands. This is really comical,” McConnell said.

Democrats’ own actions concede their allegations are unproven. The articles aren’t just unproven, they’re also constitutionally incoherent. Frankly, if either of these articles is blessed by the Senate, we could easily see the impeachment of every future president of either party. Let me say that again. If the Senate blesses this historically low bar, we’ll invite the impeachment of every future president.

The House Democrats’ allegations as presented are incompatible with our constitutional order. They are unlike anything that’s ever been seen in 230 years of this Republic. House Democrats want to create new rules for this president because they feel uniquely enraged. But long after the partisan fever of this moment has broken, the institutional damage will remain….

McConnell said if the Senate is left to deal with the “mess” created by the House, “then we invite an endless parade of impeachable trials. Future houses of either party will feel free to toss up a jump ball every time they feel angry. Free to swamp the Senate with trial after trial no matter how baseless the charges. We’d be giving future houses of either party unbelievable new power to paralyze the Senate at their whim…”

McConnell said the Senate will serve the “fever-breaking role” that the Constitution gives it.

There is only one outcome that is suited to the paucity of evidence, the failed inquiry, the slap-dash case. Only one outcome suited to the fact that the accusations themselves are constitutionally incoherent. Constitutionally incoherent.

Only one outcome will preserve core precedents rather than smash them into bits in a fit of partisan rage because one party still cannot accept the American people’s choice in 2016.

It could not be clearer which outcome would serve the stabilizing institution preserving, fever-breaking role for which the United States Senate was created; and which outcome would betray it.

The Senate’s duty is clear; the Senate’s duty is clear. When the time comes, we must fulfill it.




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