Dec 19, 2019 - Politics & Policy

McConnell on Trump impeachment: "The Senate exists for moments like this"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke from the Senate floor on Thursday regarding the House's vote to impeach President Trump, saying that the Founding Fathers designed the chamber "to provide stability" and prevent an "unprecedented constitutional crisis."

The big picture: While McConnell didn't provide any new details regarding his plans for the Senate trial during his floor speech, he laid out his theory of the case on impeachment, indicating his belief that the House inquiry was rushed and circumvented constitutional safeguards designed to protect Trump.

The big picture: Some House Democrats are pushing to delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate — a potentially powerful weapon that could delay a trial.

  • It's leverage to get McConnell to agree to provisions, such as witnesses, that Senate Democrats want and McConnell initially rejected.

What he said:

"It will be unprecedented if the Senate says secondhand and thirdhand testimony from unelected civil servants is enough to overturn the people's vote. It will be an unprecedented constitutional crisis if the Senate agrees to set the bar this low forever.
"It is clear what this moment requires. It requires the Senate to fulfill our founding purpose. The framers built the Senate to provide stability — to take the long view of our republic. To safeguard institutions from the momentary hysteria that sometimes consumes our politics. To keep partisan passions from literally boiling over.
"The Senate exists for moments like this. That's why this body has the ultimate say in impeachment.
"The framers knew the House would be too moveable to transient passions and violent factionalism. They needed a body that would consider legal questions about what has proven and political questions about what the common good of our nation requires."

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