Mitch McConnell Warns Democrats Against 'Presidential Harassment' If They Retake the House — Without a Hint of Irony

Mitch McConnell famously said his single biggest goal was for Barack Obama "to be a one-term president."

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

The Associated Press is reporting that Mitch McConnell has a warning for Democrats—if you win, leave the president alone.

McConnell: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

Wait. Wrong president. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is warning Democrats to think carefully about “presidential harassment” if they win the majority of the House.

McConnell failed in his effort to unseat Obama in 2012, but propelled by the Koch-funded tea party and plenty of Republicans shipping around claims that Obama was a “Secret Muslim,” Republicans generated a genuine red wave in 2010. Which they used to generate what are so far literally endless investigations of Democrats that have cost them … nothing at all, really.

But McConnell wants it known he only offers this advice out of concern for the Democratic Party. After all, launching any investigations into Donald Trump might get in the way of the dozens of investigations into the Obama administration that the Republicans have already conducted—without producing a single indictment—and the ones they are still launching, sometimes several at once. Right now, the Republican House has open investigations into Uranium One, into FBI actions before the 2016 elections, into how FISA warrants were obtained under Obama, and of course, into how the FBI handled Hillary Clinton’s emails. All of these matters have been investigated multiple times before. But that hasn’t kept Republicans from firing off one investigation after another. Investigating Democrats. It’s what Republicans do.

But for Democrats to do the same would only be … really, really well justified. Because Republicans have failed to hold Trump or his officials to any sort of standards.

It might be nice to have an investigation by the House Intelligence Committee where every single request for a subpoena wasn’t quashed by Devin Nunes. Where the 30-some additional witnesses requested by Democrats, including some who have turned out to be critical, were brought in to testify. Where the goal of the investigation was not to exonerate Donald Trump, but to find the truth. It might also be nice if agencies from the EPA, to the Interior Department, to the Education Department had to answer for misuse of funds, violations of standards, and failure to follow their own guidelines.

But McConnell now wants to let Democrats know that should they, just by chance, take over the House, they should give Donald Trump and his friends a pass. Because it would be bad for Democrats. Just … so bad.

Instead of looking at the thousand and one investigations over the last eight years, McConnell points way back to the Newt Gingrich-led efforts to impeach then President Bill Clinton. Those efforts ended with a surge of popularity for Clinton and a backlash against Republicans that was so bad that … George Bush had to count on the Supreme Court to hand him the presidency. That impeachment effort came after Republicans pursued Clinton through his entire career in the White House, launching multiple investigations of everything from a land deal that netted Clinton no money to a change of staff at the White House travel office. And it came on a charge of perjury after Clinton agreed to twice be interviewed by special investigators, the second time on matters unrelated to the charge of the original investigation. It’s hard to think of anything, no matter how innocuous, that didn’t cause Republicans to launch an investigation during either the Clinton or Obama administrations.

McConnell’s insistence that his advice to Democrats on this is for their own good is probably the most believable statement since Donald Trump claimed to have fired James Comey for being too hard on Hillary Clinton. Democrats will give his advice just as much attention as it deserves.

 

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Mark Sumner is the author of the nonfiction work "The Evolution of Everything" as well as several novels including "Devil's Tower."