Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has come under fire from Democrats, and at least one Republican, for his coordination with the White House on the pending impeachment trial in the Senate — but the outrage overlooks the fact that Democrats took a similar approach with President Bill Clinton during his 1999 impeachment trial.
McConnell, R-Ky., stirred a hornets’ nest when he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity earlier this month that he will be “coordinating” with the White House and that “there will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.”
“Everything I do during this, I will be coordinating with White House counsel,” he said.
That comment sparked outrage from Democrats, with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., describing McConnell as “out of line.”
“As I said, discussion in this kind of situation is not out of the question at all,” Schumer told CNN. “Saying you’re going to do just what the president wants is totally out of line and Mitch McConnell has received a lot of justified criticism for that.”
It recently drew barbs from at least one moderate Republican, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.
“When I heard that, I was disturbed,” Murkowski told local NBC affiliate KTUU in an interview that aired Tuesday evening. “To me, it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense, and so I heard what leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that that has further confused the process.”
But whether or not Senate leaders should be coordinating with the White House, McConnell is appearing to follow a precedent set during the 1999 Clinton impeachment.
According to then-Washington Post reporter Peter Baker’s book, “The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton,” Senate Democrats coordinated with the White House on a number of impeachment-related issues behind the scenes.
According to Baker, one of those arrangements involved White House Counsel Charles Ruff arranging a “secret signal” with Democratic leadership. If Ruff wanted to rebut anything from the Republican House managers, something rules didn’t allow for, he pre-arranged with then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle’s aides for a senator to submit a question to then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist asking the White House to respond.
Aides reportedly would “fill in the name” of one of several “default senators” — such as Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and then-Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. — who had agreed to allow themselves to “be used in this way.”
The book also detailed how then-Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, spoke with Clinton and helped organize a pressure campaign in defeating Sen. Susan Collins’, R-Maine., attempt to adopt “findings of fact” by which the Senate could take a majority vote on whether Clinton lied under oath and impeded discovery of evidence even if the chamber failed to convict him. Baker described how Clinton “tracked down Harkin in the Democratic cloakroom during a break in the trial to vent his outrage” at what Collins was cooking up.
“Harkin needed no convincing,” Baker wrote. “He had immediately recognized the pernicious effects of the findings plan and set about trying to destroy it before it got too far.”
all snowflakes. they just don’t understand that they have lost.
Well, again, when the Democrats do something, it is always OK and Republicans are NEVER allowed to do the same thing. Of course, giving the Democrats then the benefit of the doubt, unlike Trump Clinton had actually committed high crimes and NEEDED every scheme to protect him. However, McConnell proposes no such schemes, secret signals or judicial slight of hand; just seeing the Democrat’s articles and deciding how to proceed from there…. just as was done for Clinton.
If that is not the path Democrats are willing to follow, I recommend a dark, dank, wrinkled hole in which Pelosi could place her folly of emotion and poor decision.
@MOS # 8541: It wont stop them they will switch parties to get elected infiltrate and destroy everything they can.
We need an amendment so we can recall DC vermin when they become dangerous.
Judges SHOULD coordinate with the defense.
That’s all that’s happening.
To go back to the Clinton impeachment, DEMOCRAT Tom Harkin asked the Supreme Court to weigh in: Are Senators in an impeachment jurors or judges?
The Court ruled they are JUDGES, NOT “impartial” jurors!
Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Senate threw out the House impeachment case without bothering with a trial.
It fails on the merits.
So I wonder why Greg, AJ and all the Democrats are not denouncing this?
Biden is pledging to refuse to honor a subpoena, one which he, unlike the Executive Branch of the government, has no legal right to refuse; what’s HE hiding? What’s HE afraid of? He makes the same argument Trump has made but without the support of the Constitution. In short, he is merely afraid what questioning under oath would reveal and how it would be used against him.
Nah… It’s OK when Democrats do it.