For a party that rammed through articles of impeachment via a dog-and-pony show in the House of Representatives — one where the outcome was almost preordained and where sober inquiry was replaced with prepackaged fulmination — the Democrats suddenly seem awfully concerned about how fair the process is going to be to them in the Senate.
At a news conference after articles of impeachment passed on Wednesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a veiled threat to withhold those articles from the Senate unless she got the trial she sought.
“We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side,” Pelosi said, reported The Washington Post.
The “managers” — the House members who present the case for impeachment in the Senate — are necessary for the trial to proceed.
“So far, we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi said. “So, hopefully, it will be fair. And when we see what that is, we’ll send our managers.”
I saw this news conference and can confirm the San Francisco Democrat said this with a straight face, which is more proof for my theory that everyone in California wants to be an actor.
Yet more proof: Rep. Jackie Speier, another Golden State Democrat who’s now calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to recuse himself from the inevitable trial because she says he can’t be fair.
The whole thing has to do with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s appearance on CNN Tuesday in which he derided the impeachment proceedings.
“I’m not an impartial juror,” McConnell said. “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.”
Now, we all know what he’s saying here, correct? It’s what we all know:
This is a rigged process designed to produce an impeachment so Democrats can throw around the word “solemn” and “historic” and talk about this solemnly historic moment that led to Trump’s impeachment. Then, when it goes to the Senate, there’s zero chance for conviction — at least based on the evidence we have.
Anyway, we all know what he’s saying. Rep. Speier pretended not to:
“We’re going to have to call for a mistrial before it ever gets over to the Senate,” Rep. Jackie Speier says in response to House Majority Leader McConnell stating that he is not an impartial juror. “I would think Mitch McConnell should recuse himself.” https://t.co/oFYNesBjH8 pic.twitter.com/XSENN6X1Kb
— CNN (@CNN) December 17, 2019
“I think we’re going to have to call a mistrial before it even gets over to the Senate,” Speier said Tuesday.
“My understanding is that each of the senators is going to have to take an oath that they will independently evaluate the evidence for impeachment. … It sounds like there’s no interest in doing that whatsoever, and I would think Mitch McConnell should recuse himself.”
We’ve just finished an impeachment process in which the head of the House Judiciary Committee — who’s been rattling his saber for impeachment long before the media was reminding us it was just “Ukraine” and not “the Ukraine” — said, before the 2017 presidential inauguration, that while Trump was “legally elected,” his election was “illegitimate.” That actually could be disqualifying.
Speier spoke not a peep about this, of course. Nor did she say anything about the multitude of Democrats who came into impeachment hearings already spewing pro-impeachment opinions.
At what point are we really supposed to take this seriously? This could just be preening during a CNN spot, of course, something to be forgotten about by tomorrow. Sadly, however, one could see this being the start of a new talking point: That McConnell needs to recuse himself in the Senate for conducting himself the exact same way that Democrats in the House conducted themselves.
That’s how this works now. The Democrats derided Republicans for talking about process and how it was stacked against the GOP. Now, the Democrats are claiming that the Republicans aren’t taking process and fairness seriously enough, and if they don’t capitulate the House Democrats’ demands they might not pass on articles of impeachment — which Mitch McConnell is supposed to be threatened by.
(The best comment I saw on Twitter was that if Pelosi decided to follow through on this threat, McConnell “might dance a jig.” From my mouth to God’s ears, please let that happen on C-SPAN.)
The Democrats are suddenly furious they’re not getting their own way. Take Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s demand that witnesses and rules of the impeachment trial be decided on simultaneously, which McConnell called a “strange request.”
“It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to guilty,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, according to Politico, arguing the case needed to be built by the House of Representatives.
“The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury, to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it,” he said, adding the other side “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.”
McConnell and the Senate Republicans are taking this trial every bit as seriously — I would argue more so — as the Democrats in the House took the impeachment. If that’s a problem, there was a way to solve it when the impeachment inquiry began.
We’ve already crossed the Rubicon now.
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