Following the vote to impeach President Trump on Wednesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters she was considering holding back the articles of impeachment until she felt confident the process in the Senate would be fair and transparent. So, after rushing through what was a sham of an inquiry, she is now leveraging the articles of impeachment to extract promises from the Senate.
This morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the most powerful, blistering, and thorough analysis of the House of Representatives’ case against President Trump I’ve ever heard. He began by saying “Speaker Pelosi’s House of Representatives just gave into a temptation that every House in American History has managed to resist.” He noted that Wednesday night’s vote is a “vote about how Democrats feel” about the President rather than about his behavior.
McConnell described the impeachment case against President Trump as “the thinnest, weakest, and shoddiest” since the outbreak of the Civil War and claimed it was “antithetical to the Constitution. Nothing else comes close.”
“The House has failed to do their duty” and “Mrs. Pelosi has failed the country,” McConnell said.
The Senator pointed out that their minds had been made up on the day Trump was elected, calling Wednesday’s partisan vote the “predetermined end of a partisan crusade.” He reminded us that reporters first began talking about Trump’s impeachment in April 2016. Not a typo. He also cited a Washington Post article about impeachment within an hour of Trump’s inauguration.
He noted that this was the seventh time House Democrats had seriously brought up impeachment.
Article Two, which accuses the President of Obstruction of Congress, McConnell said, was essentially “impeaching the President for exerting executive privilege.” He emphasized that both Clinton and Nixon had exerted executive privilege and House leaders “went to court. It’s inconvenient. It takes time…It’s meant to protect the accused.”
He highlighted the fact that Democrats had been in such a rush to impeach the President, they didn’t want to take the time to go to court. The impeachment of President Trump took twelve weeks. He contrasted that with the fourteen months of hearings for the Nixon impeachment and the years of investigation which preceded Clinton’s impeachment.
Most importantly, he underscored the dangerous precedent that would be set if the Senate were to “bless this impeachment.” If the Senate were to accept this “low bar,” it will open the door to the impeachment of every future president, and invite an endless parade of impeachment trials.”
It would “swamp the senate” and give the House “the power to paralyze the Senate at their whim.”
The moment the framers feared has arrived. A political faction in the lower chamber has succumbed to partisan rage. They have fulfilled Hamilton’s philosophy that impeachment will “connect itself with the preexisting factions, enlist all their animosities, and there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”
That’s what happened in the House last night. The vote did not reflect what had been proven. It only reflects how they feel about the President. The Senate must put this right. We must rise to the occasion. There is only one outcome that is suited to the paucity of evidence in this failed inquiry, this slapdash case. Only one outcome suited to the fact that the accusations themselves are constitutionally incoherent…constitutionally incoherent. (He lets that sink in.)
Only one outcome will preserve core precedents rather than smash them into bits in a 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.
When the time comes, we must fulfill it.
Well done, Senator!
Watch the whole address.