Santorum explodes when former WH lawyer throws ‘absurd’ KKK comparison Mitch McConnell’s way

Former Sen. Rick Santorum locked horns with former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter and shut him down after he brought up the Ku Klux Klan in a debate on impeachment.

Santorum slammed Painter’s “absurd” argument during a panel discussion on CNN following the lawyer’s remarks that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is not a “political game.” Painter also went on to slam Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell while bringing up the Ku Klux Klan.

(Video: CNN)

Discussing a potential Senate trial and recent remarks about the Majority Leader’s promise to be “in total coordination” with the White House counsel’s office, Santorum argued that senators will conduct a fair trial and will not be in lockstep with the administration over every detail.

“I don’t think you’re going to see something exactly the way the administration wants it,” the former Pennsylvania Republican said, noting that the Senate would also not veer too far from the White House position.

“This trial is going to have to take place in the Senate as a fair trial,” Painter weighed in. “It is presided over by the chief justice of the United States. This is a trial, it’s not a political game. The oath of loyalty is to the United States of America, not to Donald Trump. These senators, Democrats and Republicans, have an obligation to hear the facts, to hear witnesses, and make a decision.”

Painter, who served under former President George W. Bush, went on to slam McConnell’s remarks as “atrocious.”

“For Mitch McConnell to say he’s working with the White House, coordinating with the defendant in this trial before the trial has even begun is atrocious,” he declared. “He may think he’s a judge impaneling an all-white jury for a Klansman trial in Mississippi in 1965. That’s not the kind of trial we have.”

Santorum took issue with his comments and jumped in.

“I’m sorry, you’re being absurd. You’re just being absurd,” he said as Painter insisted, “No, I’m not!”

“Yes you are! I was there! I saw what [former Senator] Tom Daschle did in 1998, and I don’t think you were complaining one bit about him carrying the water for the president,” Santorum fired back, referring to the former South Dakota Democrat who voted “not guilty” during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.

“This is typical, and I think completely appropriate,” Santorum added.

“I didn’t approve of that in 1998,” Painter shot back. “I did not approve of that then and I do not approve of it now.”

“Fine,” Santorum replied. “The Senate is the one that gets to make the rules. there is no requirement in the Senate to listen to witnesses … if Republicans concede and give witnesses to the Democrats, I can tell you there will be a lot of Republicans who will want witnesses the Democrats don’t want. So this is a very, very double-edged sword for both parties as they walk down this process.”

As CNN host Erica Hill attempted to move on, Painter continued to spar with the former senator.

“It shouldn’t be partisan. It should be about America,” he said. “Our loyalty is to the United States of America. And our senators take an oath to our country.”

“Do you think that’s what happened in the House?” Santorum shot back.

“The House did their job! This president should have been impeached years ago!” Painter exclaimed. “This president has not conducted himself in accordance with the Constitution.”

Painter continued his attacks on Twitter, calling out Santorum and McConnell in several comments.

“Wow. How did Pennsylvania ever elect this guy to the Senate?” he asked.

Twitter users were not buying whatever Painter – and even CNN – were selling.

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Frieda Powers

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