Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted today that he may immediately move to dismiss Articles of Impeachment against President Trump following opening arguments. assuming the House of Representatives sends them as expected. This would go against what President Trump and many pundits have wanted: A bloody trial with controversial witnesses like Hunter Biden, Adam Schiff, Alexandra Chalupa, and the whistleblower.
Unfortunately, he might not have much of a choice.
Without a definitive majority nor Vice President Pence presiding over the proceedings, he can only afford two defections on any motion to call a witness. Considering Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins are part of his “majority,” it’s unlikely McConnell will be able to get the witnesses the President and many Americans want to see. Pence has been the tiebreaker when necessary, but in an impeachment hearing that involves the President, Chief Justice Roberts presides.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham and others have called for a swift end to the impeachment debacle should it reach the Senate. McConnell appeared to echo that sentiment today while he was lambasting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over his list of four proposed witnesses.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hinted in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday morning that the Senate will move to dismiss the pending articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump after opening arguments in the expected trial.
McConnell was reacting to a proposal by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Monday that the Senate call four additional, in-person witnesses that were not called, or not available, during the House inquiry, ked by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA).
But McConnell dismissed that suggestion out of hand, arguing that Schumer was trying to make “Chairman Schiff’s sloppy work more persuasive.”
It is the Senate’s role to try an impeachment, not to undertake the investigation. What Schumer is suggesting is like asking a jury to track down their own witnesses to question. That’s not how it works. The House is responsible for impeachment. It’s not Schumer’s job to fill in the gigantic gaps in evidence and testimony the House is going to deliver to them. Moreover, the entire impeachment debacle is a waste of time and intellectual energy. There are real problems that need to be addressed on Capitol Hill that do not pertain to a phone call between two world leaders.
As interesting as it would be to see controversial witnesses testifying before the Senate, McConnell’s instincts are correct. Even if we disagree with the strategy, he understands the impossible logistics of herding his slim majority to a proper conclusion.
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