Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tried to justify his position on witnesses in the Senate trial by asserting that the decision on whether or not to call them during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment was a “partisan exercise,” too.
“What’s good enough for President Clinton is good enough for President Trump,” he said Monday on “Fox and Friends.”
During Clinton’s Senate impeachment trial, following a Senate motion, witnesses participated in depositions rather than testifying before the whole Senate. Excerpts of those depositions were later provided to lawmakers.
Those witnesses were Monica Lewinsky, Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan Jr. and Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal.
In Trump’s case, the White House has been actively blocking witnesses subpoenaed by the House from testifying. In the Senate, four Republicans would have to vote with Democrats to call witnesses to the floor — an outcome that seems unlikely.
McConnell also mocked the notion of “impartial jurors,” what all of the senators are, in theory, supposed to be. He himself blew that idea to pieces when he proudly announced that he is working in close cooperation with the White House to arrange the trial.
“Do you think Chuck Schumer is impartial? Do you think Elizabeth Warren is impartial? That Bernie Sanders is impartial?” McConnell asked to a chorus of “no”s from host Brian Kilmeade. “So let’s quit the charade.”
McConnell says Trump should be treated like Clinton: “Fair is fair” pic.twitter.com/h9I0dwl9QQ
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 23, 2019
He added that he and Schumer are at an impasse after meeting about the trial. McConnell wants to hear from Trump’s lawyers and the House impeachment managers before deciding whether to call witnesses. Schumer wants that decision to be made simultaneously, and advocates for top Trump administration officials being brought in.
McConnell didn’t linger over the details.
“Look, we can’t do anything until the speaker sends the papers over,” he said. “So, everybody, enjoy the holidays.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she wants to see “what sort of trial the Senate will conduct” before she sends the articles to the upper chamber.