House Democrats’ Partisan Games Ignore Framers’ Warnings on Impeachment

‘Every day that House Democrats refuse to stand behind their historically partisan impeachment deepens the embarrassment for the leaders who chose to take our nation down this road… The American people deserve better than this.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding impeachment:

‘Every day that House Democrats refuse to stand behind their historically partisan impeachment deepens the embarrassment for the leaders who chose to take our nation down this road.

‘You can’t say we didn’t warn them. You can’t even say they didn’t warn themselves. It was less than one year ago that Speaker Pelosi said “impeachment is so divisive… unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path.” 

‘And back during the Clinton impeachment, it was Congressman Jerry Nadler who said “an impeachment substantially supported by one of our major political parties and largely opposed by the other… will lack legitimacy.”

‘At this point they may wish they’d taken their own advice.

‘Instead, what the country got was the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair presidential impeachment in American history. And now the prosecution has gotten cold feet. Nearly three weeks after the rushed vote they claimed was so urgent, they are still debating whether or not they even want to proceed to trial.

‘House Democrats say they’re waiting for some mythical “leverage.” Apparently this is their proposition: If the Senate does not agree to break with our own unanimous bipartisan precedent from 1999, and agree to let Speaker Pelosi hand-design a different procedure for this Senate trial, then they might never dump this mess in our lap. 

‘One cynical political game on top of another. It was not enough for the House to blow through its own norms and precedents and succumb to the partisan temptation of a subjective impeachment that every other House had resisted for 230 years.

‘Now they need to erode our constitutional order even further. They want to invent a new pre-trial hostage negotiation where the House gets to run the show in the Senate. 

‘Meanwhile they’re creating exactly the kind of unfair and dangerous delay in impeachment that Alexander Hamilton specifically warned against in the Federalist Papers.

‘This is already the longest delay between the impeachment vote and the delivery of the House’s impeachment message in American history.

‘It’s almost as though this House Democrat majority systematically took all of the framers’ warnings about partisan abuses of the impeachment power, took everything the founders said not to do, and thought, “now there’s an idea, let’s try that.”

‘Impeaching a president is just about the most serious action that any House of Representatives can take.

‘How inappropriate and embarrassing to rush forward on a partisan basis and then treat what you’ve done like a political toy. How contemptuous of the American people to tell them for weeks that you feel this extraordinary step is so urgent and then delay it indefinitely for political purposes. How embarrassing – and how revealing.

‘Speaker Pelosi’s actions over the past three weeks have confirmed what many Americans suspected about this impeachment process all along -- that House Democrats have only ever wanted to abuse this grave constitutional process for partisan ends from the beginning.

‘Well, the Senate is not about to let the Speaker corrode our own Senate process and precedents in the same way. The first organizing resolution for the 1999 Clinton trial was approved unanimously, 100 to nothing. It left mid-trial questions to the middle of the trial where they belong.

If that unanimous bipartisan precedent was good enough for President Clinton it should be our template for President Trump. Fair is fair. The Speaker of the House is not going to hand-write new rules for the Senate.

Look, these are serious matters. At some point in time Democrats’ rage at this particular president will fade, but the sad precedents they are setting will live on.

‘The American people deserve better than this.’

Related Issues: Senate Democrats