With the House’s approval of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, attention has now turned to a trial set for the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already explicitly said he won’t be an “impartial juror.” This debacle isn’t the first display of his fealty to political expedience. Despite the president’s complaints that Congressional Democrats are “do nothing,” they’ve passed hundreds of bills with demonstrable benefits for Americans that Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, have simply ignored. Over the weekend, former Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill publicly denounced McConnell as having “destroyed” Senate norms.
He’s joined in on the complaints about Democrats’ supposed laziness himself, but the reality does not change: he has proudly touted himself as the “Grim Reaper” of the Democratic House majority’s legislation, and he has fulfilled that promise with the hundreds of flatly ignored bills.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 18, 2019
On Meet the Press, McCaskill commented:
‘I think the Senate was broken, Congress was broken, before impeachment came along. My first year in the Senate, I voted on 306 legislative amendments. This year, there’s fewer than 30. Mitch McConnell has presided over absolutely destroying Senate norms, from Merrick Garland to killing legislative debate. The Senate is no longer what it was, and the people of this country are going to have to be the ones politically to put pressure on this dysfunction and say we want unity, we want stuff to get done, we want you to quit the partisan food fight.’
"People of this country are gonna have to be the ones politically to put pressure on this dysfunction and say … we want you to quit the partisan food fight." pic.twitter.com/e7t6eNZVGb
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 22, 2019
As the situation stands, there’s no indication that Senate Republicans have any plans to give up their partisan fearmongering anytime soon. Despite the many polls showing the country as about evenly split on impeachment, Trump and his Republican allies are even claiming that a majority of the American people are on their side and ready to “Keep America Great” after 2020 or whatever, but that’s just not true. Trump even loses in the majority of head-to-head polling pitting him against all the leading Democratic presidential primary candidates.
Now, McConnell and his Senate Republican colleagues have been lashing out in favor of the president’s line all the same via demanding that Democrats drop their demands for a fair impeachment trial. Democrats want to hear from witnesses like White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who’ve already been demanded for testimony but refused to show up. McConnell has claimed that this basic step of hearing from witnesses would turn the trial into a “fishing expedition” that would set a “nightmarish precedent” for the Senate.
This Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) insisted that she’d not be backing down. She tweeted:
‘The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct. President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?’
The president and his allies have claimed that Pelosi’s delay of transmitting the impeachment case to the Senate constitutes something illegal, but there’s no evidence for this.
The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct.
President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2019