Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already candidly stated that if the articles of impeachment pass the House — and they’re set to vote in the next hour or so — that the GOP-led Senate will do little more than listen to the arguments, have a vote on whether or not to proceed to trial (and they likely have enough nays to keep that from happening), and move on from Democrats’ impeachment fevered dream.
But there are still some Democrats fighting hard to make sure the articles of impeachment never make it to the Senate. Rep. Steny Hoyer is seeking a delay even as the House gets ready to vote. So, just for fun, let’s assume he’s doing that because McConnell — who was cagey enough to refuse Judge Merrick Garland a SCOTUS hearing that ultimately led to the nomination and confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch — is capable of flipping the switch and letting this thing go to trial. Or, at the very least, waiting to hold the vote long enough to question some witnesses.
Trump has said who he’d like to hear from — Hunter Biden is one — although the president has also indicated he’d defer to McConnell on the witness list if it came to that. But he’s got some serious support from legislators like Sen. Ted Cruz, who believes Trump should be allowed to call whomever he wants in his defense.
And, it should be noted, McConnell has no intention of being impartial in his approach to impeachment, no matter how far it goes in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed the impeachment process against President Trump as a political proceeding rather than a judicial one.
“I’m not an impartial juror. This is a political process. There’s not anything judicial about it,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. “The House made a partisan political decision to impeach. I would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate. I’m not impartial about this at all.”
So, should McConnell do more than simply have impeachment voted down, we can expect that the Senate may take a page from the House Democrats and call only the witnesses they want to hear from while denying Senate Democrats their own.
This is mostly an academic exercise. My sense is McConnell wants to move on from impeachment because he knows what it is — a distraction from the real corruption that occurred during the 2016 election and during the first part of the Trump administration during the Russia collusion investigation.
But Democrats, frankly, are making it hard not to end it with a trial where some of their sacred cows — like the Bidens — will be fully exposed. They’ve vowed to continue with impeachment by revisiting the Mueller report if the current effort goes nowhere in the Senate.
Someone should tell them that if they hang their future impeachment hopes on anything related to Russia collusion, that ultimate exposure will be worse for them than what would come out about the Bidens and Ukraine.
McConnell has, no doubt, been looking at his chessboard for weeks wondering which piece he wants to play. It’ll boil down to a decision about whether a full trial now is a quicker death for the impeachment dream, or if a revisitation of what Dems were doing during the Russia collusion investigation is worth exploring.
You may think you know which way McConnell will go. I’ve ruled nothing out.