Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. holds up a copy of a White House released rough transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and the President of Ukraine as Schumer speaks to the media about an impeachment inquiry on President Trump, Wednesday Sept. 25, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
You can probably file this under the least surprising thing of the week.
Democrats have been blasting Sen. Mitch McConnell for comments he made recently about not being impartial as a “juror” in the upcoming (or maybe not so upcoming) Trump impeachment trial. The entire sentiment is ludicrous, as it’s an impossibly for partisan politicians to flip a switch and suddenly hold no biases. McConnell’s honesty is refreshing in that sense, but Democrats and the media have seized on his words to push the idea that any Senate trial would be unfair.
Shockingly, it turns out Schumer is a massive hypocrite on this front, as newly unearthed interviews from the Clinton impeachment show.
— em steck (@emsteck) December 27, 2019
In recent days, Schumer has slammed McConnell ahead of Trump’s trial, saing he was “utterly amazed” by McConnell describing himself as not impartial.
“Let the American people hear it loud and clear, the Republican leader said, proudly, ‘I’m not an impartial juror. I’m not impartial about this at all.’ That is an astonishing admission of partisanship,” Schumer said in a floor speech.
Yet, when asked about the issue in 1999, Schumer sang a very different tune, clearly delineating that he held pre-determined biases while serving during the impeachment trial of Clinton.
“We have a pre-opinion,” Schumer said, citing himself and two newly-elected Republican senators who had voted on impeachment in 1998 as members of the House of Representatives who said they would vote in the Senate. “This is not a criminal trial, but this is something that the Founding Fathers decided to put in a body that was susceptible to the whims of politics.”
“So therefore, anybody taking an oath tomorrow can have a pre-opinion; it’s not a jury box,” King asked Schumer.
That’s a pretty stunning level of hypocrisy, even for a Democrat. To now rattle on about McConnell while knowing he said what we said in 1999 is fairly shameless. Schumer repeated his feelings on the matter at the time in several other interviews, including this later sit down with Tim Russert.
“Right,” Schumer said. “Well, first, I found it curious that three of us had to take positions because of our positions in the House: then-Congressman Bunning, Congressman Crapo and myself. They criticized me without mentioning the other two, who also took a position. But let’s remember this, Tim: The Founding Fathers — whose wisdom just knocks my socks off every day, it really does — set this process up to be in the Senate, not at the Supreme Court, not in some judicial body.”
“Every day, for instance, hundreds of people call us up and lobby us on one side and the other. You can’t do that with a juror,” he added. “The standard is different. It’s supposed to be a little bit judicial and a little bit legislative-political. That’s how it’s been.”
What’s perhaps worse is that the media continue to play along with Democrats’ complaints knowing full well that McConnell is right and that Schumer admitted as much some 20 years ago. Instead of calling out Democrats for flip-flopping their standards, they run hit after hit trashing Republicans for simply stating the obvious.
As we were all assured for months during the House inquiry, impeachment is a political process. That means the majority gets to make the rules. There is no viable standard by which Republicans in the Senate become impartial and no one should be under any illusions that the Democrats in this case are impartial either. Their minds have long been made up.
McConnell has essentially called Pelosi’s bluff at this point and told her to stuff her articles of impeachment if she doesn’t want to hand them over. That’s the right move. Let Schumer and his friends whine to CNN and it’s five viewers. Republicans have far more important things to worry about, like confirming more judges.