Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally responded to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s letter proposing what he mocked as a “fishing expedition.”
The Republican leader rejected Schumer’s requests regarding a potential impeachment trial in the Senate which he delivered in a letter on Sunday, speaking on the Senate floor about how the proposed offer from the Democrat on impeachment rules “could set a nightmarish precedent for our institution.”
(Video: ABC News)
“The Senate Democratic leader would apparently like our chamber to do House Democrats’ homework for them. He wants to volunteer the Senate’s time and energy on a fishing expedition,” McConnell said Tuesday.
Schumer’s proposal could “only incentivize an endless stream of dubious partisan impeachments in the future, and we will invite future houses to paralyze future Senates with frivolous impeachments at will,” he added.
The Kentucky Republican called out his colleague who “decided to short-circuit the customary and collegial process” of trying to set up the rules for impeachment.
“The preferable path would have been an in-person conversation, which nonetheless, I still hope to pursue,” McConnell said.
The White House slammed the Minority Leader’s “partisan sham” after the letter was sent Sunday night stating that Democrats wanted to call in witnesses including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Mulvaney’s senior adviser Robert Blair, former national security adviser John Bolton and Office of Management and Budget staffer Michael Duffey.
White House responds to Schumer’s ‘laughable’ request after Dems’ ‘midnight’ impeachment move https://t.co/ZgfCabwbiL
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 17, 2019
While McConnell did not refer to the proposed witnesses by name, he indicated that naming them ahead of a trail even being announced was a “strange request at this juncture.”
“Presumably, it will be the House prosecutor’s job to ask for the witnesses they feel they need to make the case. So why does the Democratic leader here in the Senate want to predetermine the House impeachment manager’s witness request?” McConnell said.
He noted that the framework used in the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton was a “good idea.”
“The basic procedural framework of the Clinton impeachment trial served the Senate and the nation well, in my view,” McConnell said. “I still believe the Senate should try to follow the 1999 model.”
Schumer had defended his plan in his own remarks.
I haven’t seen a single good argument as to why these witnesses shouldn’t testify or these documents shouldn’t be produced—unless President Trump has something to hide.
The trial structure I outlined will ensure that all the relevant facts come out without any dilatory actions. pic.twitter.com/b43VQbhwl1
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 16, 2019
The New York Democrat has called for one resolution at the start of the trial covering both procedure and calling specific witnesses. But Republicans seem to be leaning to a different scenario and McConnell appeared to agree, saying Tuesday that he backs having two resolutions, separating procedure and potential witnesses.
“The Democratic leader wants to write a completely new set of rules for President Trump,” McConnell said of Schumer. “The same process that Senator Schumer thought was good enough for President Clinton he doesn’t want to afford President Trump, go figure.”
More of McConnell’s speech below:
McConnell knocks @RepAdamSchiff: Schumer "wants to volunteer the Senate’s time and energy on a fishing expedition to see whether his own ideas could make Chairman Schiff’s sloppy work more persuasive than Chairman Schiff himself bothered to make it." pic.twitter.com/Jj7etLgy8v
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) December 17, 2019
McConnell’s tough talk earned him some accolades from Trump supporters:
Cryin’ Chuck. ? Sorry, you’re not the majority in this place.
— Brisquen Cauld (@BrisquenC) December 17, 2019
— Sabrina K (@KahlerSabrina) December 17, 2019
Good for him.
— Ellen D.T. Brown (@EllsBellsInPA) December 17, 2019