House Democrats claim both that their case for impeachment is so strong they didn’t need any more proof – and that the Senate must gather more evidence before judging the case – but, both claims can’t be true, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
In a Senate floor speech, Sen. McConnell told his colleagues that it’s the Senate’s job to judge the impeachment case – not to gather more evidence for it – and reminded Democrats of how they’ve changed their story:
“Do they think the entire country has forgotten what they were saying just a couple of days ago?
“We heard over and over that the House case, on its own, was totally damning and convincing. That’s what they were saying a few days ago. Clearly, a majority of the House felt it was sufficient to impeach. And a number of Senate Democrats were happy to pre-judge the case publicly and suggest the House had proven enough for removal.
“But now, all of a sudden, the story has reversed. Now, we hardly know anything. Now, the investigation is just beginning. Now, what the House has produced is so weak that they’re calling their own investigation a “cover-up.” Who would be the author of this cover-up -- Chairman Schiff?”
“We have arrived at a simple contradiction. Two things cannot be both true: House Democrats’ case cannot simultaneously be so robust that it was enough to impeach in the first place - but, also so weak that the Senate needs to go fishing.
“If the existing case is strong, there’s no need for the judge and jury to re-open the investigation.
“If the existing case is weak, House Democrats should not have impeached in the first place.”
“There is no constitutional exception for a House majority with a short attention span” requiring the Senate to finish the “half-baked” job that Democrats wouldn’t take the time to do properly, Sen. McConnell said:
“The Constitution gives the sole power of impeachment to the House. If a House majority wants to impeach a president, the ball is in their court. But, they have to do the work. They have to prove their case.
“Nothing in our history or our Constitution says a House majority can pass what amounts to a half-baked censure resolution and then insist that the Senate fill in the blanks. There is no constitutional exception for a House majority with a short attention span.”
To Democrats, impeachment was never about “earnest fact-finding” – but, simply “a predetermined political conclusion” they’d promised supporters, McConnell said:
“Look, I think everyone knows this process has not been some earnest fact-finding mission with House Democrats following each thread wherever it leads.
“The Speaker of the House did not reluctantly decide to impeach after poring over the secondhand impressions of civil servants. This was a predetermined political conclusion. Members of her conference had been publicly promising it literally for years.
“That’s why the investigation stopped long before the House had come anywhere near proving what they allege. They pulled the plug early because the facts were never the point. The point was to check a political box.”