Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has offered few comments during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, said the two articles against the president fail to meet the lofty standard laid out by the framers of the Constitution.
Impeachment “cannot rest alone on the exercise of a constitutional power combined with concerns about whether the presidents motivations were public or personal and a disagreement over whether the exercise of the power was in the national interest,” McConnell said on the Senate floor after about two weeks of arguments from both Trumps legal team and the House impeachment managers.
The Senate will hold a final vote on impeachment Wednesday, and barring any unforeseen developments, Trump is likely to be acquitted for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, although Democrats will likely argue that the trial wasnt legitimate after the Senate voted down calling additional witnesses and subpoenaing documents. The Senate requires a 67-vote supermajority to convict a president, which has never been done before in U.S. history, although former President Richard Nixon resigned before the House could hold a vote to impeach him in the early 1970s.
McConnell said the two articles were “absurd,” “dangerous,” and “constitutionally incoherent.” His comments were the first hes delivered on the Senate floor since the event began last month, although media reports and GOP senators have said that he worked behind-the-scenes to keep his caucus together and vote along party lines.
The Republican from Kentucky then urged senators to reject both articles of impeachment.
“We must vote to reject the House abuse of power, vote to protect our institutions, vote to reject new precedents that would reduce the framers design to rubble,” McConnell said. “I urge every one of our colleagues to cast the vote … clearly required, vote to acquit the president of these charges,” McConnell added.
House impeachment managers, during their inquiry, rushed the process to try and politically harm Trump before Christmas 2019, he said, noting that in prior impeachments, it took House investigators sometimes years to come up with a case against a president.
He said Democrats view Trump as a proverbial “bull in the china shop … so [Democrats] are going to drive a bulldozer through the China shop to get rid of him.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaking after McConnell, accused the GOP leader of being “afraid” of calling in new witnesses and documents during the trial.
“The idea that that means you shouldnt have witnesses and documents when were doing something as august, as important as an impeachment trial fails the laugh test,” Schumer said on the floor. “It makes people believe, correctly in my judgment, that the administration, its top people and Senate Republicans are all hiding the truth.”
A day before that, House managers warned that Trump might abuse his power after being acquitted.
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