Mitch McConnell is showing his ‘contempt’ for the Constitution and ‘the very notion of a fair trial’: conservative columnists

Back in 2005 or 2006, when George W. Bush was president, it would have been hard to imagine neocon journalist Bill Kristol describing Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell as a threat to the U.S. Constitution. But that was before Donald Trump became president and McConnell, as Senate majority leader, became a vigorous defender of him. And Kristol, in an article he co-wrote with Jeffrey K. Tulis for The Bulwark, explains why he now views McConnell as hostile to the Constitution.

“The United States has a problem,” Kristol and Tulis assert. “The Constitution of the United States has a problem. The Senate of the United States has a problem. His name is Mitch McConnell.”

Because of the Ukraine scandal, Trump was recently indicted by House Democrats on two articles of impeachment: one for abuse of power, the other for obstruction of Congress — and McConnell has asserted that he plans to coordinate with Trump and will by no means be an impartial juror in a Senate trial.

“The president has been impeached by the House of Representatives, and one man stands in the way of a fair trial in the Senate: McConnell,” Kristol and Tulis write. “He has promised that there would not be a fair trial on the pattern of previous impeachment trials in the Senate, with rules negotiated by the two parties that allow for both sides to call witnesses and makes their cases.

McConnell, Kristol and Tulis add, has “publicly claimed that the case is worthless before allowing the case to be made” and has “disparaged the sole power of impeachment of the other house of the Congress.” Moreover, they write, McConnell has “insisted that his caucus stay in lockstep with him as if impeachment were a matter of ordinary politics, rather than an upcoming trial where all of his colleagues are equal judges of the House articles.”

Kristol and Tulis argue that Pelosi’s greatest “misstep” since becoming House speaker again was not pushing for Trump’s impeachment sooner. Nonetheless, they praise Pelosi for showing her “commitment to the Constitution” and stress, “Her accomplishment in leading the House to well-crafted impeachment articles was remarkable and historic.”

On the other hand, Kristol and Tulis stress, McConnell has made it abundantly clear that he is willing to toss the Constitution aside in defense of Trump.

“McConnell has shown contempt for the very notion of a fair trial,” Kristol and Tulis write. “Indeed, he and Sen. Lindsay Graham have announced — effectively pledged — that they will not follow the new oath that they will be required to take once the chief justice is invited to preside.”

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