Political suicide: Why McConnell won’t allow a full Senate trial to remove Trump

  • 10/02/2019 5:44 pm ET Dara Brewton & Joe Romm

Flickr / Gage Skidmore

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) admitted that the Senate would have to “take it up” if the House votes for impeachment.

“I would have no choice but to take it up. How long you are on it is a different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up based on a Senate rule on impeachment.”

With that said, it would still be difficult to remove Trump from the Oval Office because it would require two thirds of the Senate to agree to remove him. Plus, McConnell has already declared the Ukraine phone call “laughable.”

“I’ve read the summary of the call. If this is the ‘launching point’ for House Democrats’ impeachment process, they’ve already overplayed their hand. It’s clear there is no quid pro quo that the Democrats were desperately praying for,” McConnell said.

He has also tried to discourage Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from focusing on the impeachment inquiry claiming that the House should set their sights on legislation the Senate would actually pass. McConnell says  he “wouldn’t want to go into next year’s election” with nothing more on record than an attempt “to harass the president”

What he fails to mention is that the House has passed many bills that are still sitting on his desk awaiting attention. It is a fact that Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Speaker Pelosi, is quick to point out. “House Democrats will continue to make our agenda too hot for Senate Republicans to handle, and there will be a price to pay for obstructing the People’s business.”

There are some that feel like an impeachment trial would get the “Merrick Garland treatment“, especially in an election year when McConnell needs ways to rally the dwindling support in his home state.

Since he is the Senate Majority Leader, McConnell has full control over the calendar which means he can control the impeachment process by scheduling or refusing to schedule a vote. It is common knowledge that he is happy to wield this power exactly as he sees fit, he even refers to himself as the “grim reaper”.

Also, at the New York Times reported Tuesday, Senate Republicans have circulated a guidance “noting that a motion to dismiss the articles would be allowed under impeachment rules, and that such a vote took place during the Clinton trial after opening arguments and limited questioning by senators.”

McConnell isn’t particularly popular in his home state of Kentucky, but somehow, he has managed to cling to his Senate seat for over 30 years. In fact, 50% of Kentuckians disapprove of McConnell.

With Trump’s favorability in Kentucky polling higher than his own, will McConnell take the chance of splitting with Trump?

Many are convinced that McConnell will do what’s best for McConnell whether that means sticking with Trump or throwing him under the bus.

But allowing a full-blown trial of Donald Trump in the Senate would likely turn Trump voters against him, and could cost him his reelection chances against his likely opponent, former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath.

As one Kentucky political analyst noted, “To win this race, McGrath will likely need a fairly large bloc of people who are voting for Trump for president to then cross party lines and vote for her in the Senate race.”

So until Trump’s popularity among Kentuckians dwindles, McConnell is unlikely to split from the president.

 

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