WASHINGTON, D.C. — The congressional stalemate over the delivery of President Trump’s articles of impeachment between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t show many signs of abating any time soon.
When Pelosi and the overwhelming majority of her fellow Democrats passed two articles of impeachment against Trump last week, she signalled that she would be withholding the final transmission of the articles to McConnell in the Senate, following interviews the Kentucky Republican did in the media indicating he would be directly coordinating the trial with the White House. Senators swear a constitutionally mandated oath before an impeachment trial, affirming they will serve as impartial jurors. However, McConnell and several Senate Republicans have indicated they see no problem with taking that oath, but openly stating they’ll acquit the president before any trial begins.
Pelosi is hoping to put pressure on McConnell to call witnesses and conduct a much more lengthy and exhaustive trial, instead of the quick one that the majority leader has told the press he favors. Congressional Democrats have wanted to have administration officials like acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton testify in regards to what they knew about the attempts Trump made to force Ukrainian officials into investigating Joe and Hunter Biden, however Trump has put the kibosh on all such testimony.
In a radio interview over the weekend, McConnell said that “ordinarily” he’d “love to have White Officials testify” in such proceedings, but that there were several extenuating circumstances surrounding Trump officials doing so.
“For starters, if this were a Democrat president, say, an URBAN skinned one,” McConnell told WKKK’s Chip Chatterly on Saturday, “I’d be pushing for officials to testify. Nothing is more important than protecting the country from a lawless president, provided that president is a Democrat. But as I’ve said in the past, Trump isn’t above the law; it just doesn’t apply to him. And more importantly, I’d worry that someone like Mick Mulvaney might have too much evidence that exonerates the president to choose from.”
McConnell said he worries that if Mulvaney isn’t able to pick and choose the right exculpatory evidence, it might “bog the trial down.”
“I’m sure that Mick’s got oodles and gobs of evidence to clear the president’s name,” McConnell asserted. “He just has to keep it secret. This happens all the times in criminal proceedings, I’m sure of it. Defense attorneys just hate it when they have way too much evidence to get their client off, so they don’t anyone see any of it.”
Majority Leader McConnell said it “might get confusing for Americans” if there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence presented by Mulvaney that exonerates Trump, and so it’s a much better idea for Trump to prevent Mulvaney from testifying at all.
“It might get confusing for Americans if they’re just absolutely flooded with evidence that the president isn’t guilty,” McConnell said flatly. “So I think it makes a lot more sense to not let any evidence whatsoever come to light. Why would the president want all that evidence put out into the world if all it would do is prove he’s innocent? Does what I’m saying make any sense? Of course not, but did I say it with the right tone and talking points to make the president’s base think I’m saying something that does actually make sense? Time will tell.”
McConnell also said he believes it “might be illegal” to present too much evidence of one’s innocence.
“I’m not completely sure about this, but I’ve heard some folks saying it’s entirely possible it would actually be illegal for the president, or anyone, to present too much evidence of their innocence,” McConnell insisted. “There could be a legal limit on how much exculpatory evidence one trial can see.”
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.