Dec 19, 2019

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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Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.