Mitch McConnell spoke on the Senate floor today, challenging Nancy Pelosi to stop stalling and send the article of impeachment to the Senate.
“Their turn is over. They’ve done enough damage. It’s the Senate’s turn now to render sober judgment,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor.
But he stressed that the chamber cannot hold a trial unless and until the House of Representatives transmits the two articles of impeachment adopted last month, accusing President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress pertaining to his dealings with Ukraine. Pelosi, D-Calif., has held onto them in a bid to seek favorable terms for a trial, including the involvement of certain Democrat-sought witnesses.
McConnell called Pelosi’s effort to “hand-design” the proceedings in the Senate a “non-starter” and a “fantasy.”
There were some suggesting this week that McConnell could simply hold a trial and dismiss the charges without waiting for Pelosi, but as McConnell says here that’s not allowed under the rules of the Senate. So there’s not much the Senate can do. “For now, we’re content to continue the ordinary business of the Senate, while House Democrats continue to flounder,” McConnell added.
After McConnell spoke, Sen. Schumer, who has been demanding the right to call witnesses, got up and offered his take: “Will we fulfill our duty to conduct a fair impeachment trial of the president of the United States or will we not? That is most pressing question facing this Senate. The country just saw McConnell’s answer to that question. The answer is no.” Politico has a bit more on the back and forth:
Amid the two lengthy speeches, there was no indication either leader has any desire to compromise. Instead, their balky relationship was on full display, with McConnell gleefully dredging up Schumer’s 1998 campaign for his Senate seat as a vote against the removal of former President Bill Clinton.
“He voted against the articles both in the House Judiciary Committee and on the House floor. And a major part of his Senate campaign that year — listen to this — was literally promising New Yorkers in advance that he would vote to acquit President Clinton,” McConnell said with a flourish.
Schumer called McConnell’s speech a collection of “feeble talking points” that included no substantive rebuttal of his calls to hear new evidence.
Pelosi statement doesn’t address when she might send articles to Senate but says: “The GOP Senate must immediately proceed in a manner worthy of the Constitution and in light of the gravity of the President’s unprecedented abuses.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 3, 2020
This was always the endgame for impeachment. Pelosi knew it all along which is one reason she was against it for so long. Attempts to bully McConnell into letting Democrats control the process in the Senate don’t seem likely to prevail but I guess Democrats will feel some new urgency after the Soleimani strike.
Here’s video of a portion of McConnell’s remarks (via Breitbart):