If for some reason you thought Donald Trump’s impeachment might propel Sen. #MoscowMitch McConnell to put country over power and partisanship, his disturbing chat with Sean Hannity last night should completely disabuse you of such a possibility.
McConnell does not often visit Fox News nor is he a verbal bomb thrower like Hannity. But McConnell could not have signaled his sycophantic solidarity better if he had shown up wearing a red MAGA cap.
As B-roll footage of Trump pointing thumbs up and raising a victorious fist took half the screen, McConnell feigned impartiality: “We’ll listen to the opening arguments by the House prosecutors and we’ll listen to the president’s lawyers respond and then we’ll have to make a decision about the way forward,” he said.
But soon, McConnell actually admitted his decision is about making sure Trump stays in power. “And everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this to the extent that we can. … We have no choice but to take [impeachment] up, but we’ll be working through this process, hopefully in a fairly short period of time, in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president in the well of the Senate.”
Hannity, who fashions himself a legal expert, lectured McConnell on the evidentiary insufficiencies of the case against Trump. Not surprisingly, Hannity warped the facts to suit his dishonest narrative:
HANNITY: The one fact witness [Gordon Sondland] said, “The president said he wants nothing, no quid pro quo.” That was the only fact witness that I saw.
Greg Sargent notes that is a drastic misrepresentation of what Sondland said. He testified that he understood there to be a quid pro quo and told a top aide to Ukraine’s President Zelensky that aid was conditioned upon announcing a Biden investigation.
Hannity also claimed there was no “evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever” by Trump which is, as Sargent put it, “utter nonsense.”
It’s worth pointing out that McConnell, who surely knows better, did not endorse Hannity’s claim. Instead, what McConnell said may be even worse because he made it clear he doesn’t care about the facts, only in propping up Trump. McConnell reiterated, “Well, exactly how we go forward, I’m going to coordinate with the president’s lawyers so there won’t be any difference between us on how to do this.”
In case anyone missed the point, McConnell added, “We all know how it’s going to end, there’s no chance the president’s going to be removed from office.”
This is not how America is supposed to work. McConnell is supposed to be a member of the jury, not a member of Trump’s defense team.
Of course, make-believe lawyer Hannity had no problem with it. He discoursed on the “obstruction issue,” and propounded that it would be “smart” to avoid calling witnesses.
Again, McConnell pledged his 100% MAGA fealty, telling Trump’s Bedtime BFF and unofficial chief of staff, “Again, I’m gonna take my cues from the president’s lawyers but yes, if you know you have the votes, you’ve listened to the arguments on both sides, and believe the case is so slim, so weak that you have the votes to end it, that might be what the president’s lawyers would prefer and you can certainly make a case for making it shorter rather than longer since it’s such a weak case.”
CNN reported that McConnell’s plan is to quickly acquit Trump by voting down the articles of impeachment, without calling witnesses, rather than to just dismiss the charges, if he has the 51 votes to do that. Everything McConnell said here validates that reporting.
As depressing as all this is, there are some glimmers of hope. Sargent and Paul Waldman laid out plausible paths for Democrats to put Republicans on defense. They also note that it’s quite possible McConnell will not have the votes for his scheme.
But we, the people, must do our part to resist such corruption and demand Trump be held accountable. Call your senators, visit their offices and town halls and attend MoveOn.org’s “Nobody is above the law” events. Also, help out the Ditch Mitch Fund.
See why McConnell's corruption makes grassroots actions so important, below, from the December 12, 2019 Hannity.
“Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, Pr^sident of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God.”
#MoscowMitch ‘pre-violated’ that oath on Hannity. Though maybe #MoscowMitch and #LenigradLindsey get administered separate oaths by Putin pledging loyalty to the interests of Mother Russia.
The only factor that appears to be slowing him down a little is his uncertainty about the exact number of GOP senators upon which he can depend for a blanket vote. If he knew he could count on every vote, his first course of action would be an immediate voice vote to dismiss the charges and end the matter before even hearing the case. That is the approach I’ve been expecting him to take, as it would present the fastest way out, provide the least exposure to any damaging discussions, and it would be the most brutal way to give a big middle finger to the House and to the rest of the country.
Barring that approach, he’ll take the course discussed here with Hannity – allowing each side to quickly present their case and THEN doing the fast voice vote and once again giving that middle finger to the rest of the country.
I’m not seeing any other plan from the GOP, regardless of their Brer Rabbit shouts of wanting a long trial with lots of witnesses. In reality, the Right Wing is terrified of that idea.
My expectation is that this entire matter will either be over within a day or two of getting to the Senate, or within one hour of getting to the Senate. And then the GOP and the Dems will campaign on the situation for the rest of 2020. And the key to the election will not be the impeachment but will instead be what the key to all elections has always been: Turnout.