Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lashed out at House Democrats on Tuesday, calling their two articles of impeachment “dangerous” ahead of votes this week on whether to convict President Trump.
“This does not even approach a case for the first presidential removal in American history. … Such an act cannot rest alone on the exercise of a constitutional power combined with concerns about whether the president’s motivations were public or personal and a disagreement over whether the exercise of power was in the national interest,” McConnell said.
He added that both articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — were “dangerous” and “constitutionally incoherent.”
McConnell’s remarks are the first time he’s spoken on the Senate floor about impeachment since the outset of the trial. He reiterated that the House impeachment inquiry was “reckless” and the “most rushed, least fair” effort in the country’s history.
“Was this all an effort to hijack our institution for a month-long political rally?” McConnell asked. “We have indeed witnessed an abuse of power … by just the kind of House majority that the Framers warned us about.”
The Senate is expected to vote on Wednesday on whether to convict Trump on the two House-passed articles of impeachment.
McConnell urged senators to acquit Trump and reject House Democrats “abuse of power.”
“We must vote to reject the House abuse of power, vote to protect our institutions, vote to reject new precedents that would reduce the Framers’ design to rubble,” McConnell said.
“I urge every one of our colleagues to cast the vote … clearly required, vote to acquit the president of these charges,” McConnell added.
With 67 votes needed to convict Trump, he is expected to be acquitted on Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after his third State of the Union address.
A handful of senators, including lawmakers in both parties, have not yet said if they will vote to convict Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaking just after McConnell, accused the GOP leader of repeating “talking points” and being “afraid” after the Senate voted last week to not include new witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial.
“The idea that that means you shouldn’t have witnesses and documents when we’re doing something as august, as important as an impeachment trial fails the laugh test,” Schumer said. “It makes people believe, correctly in my judgment, that the administration, its top people and Senate Republicans are all hiding the truth.”