- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded Thursday to the House Democrats’ impeachment of President Trump, calling it a rushed partisan process that has set a new precedent for impeachment heading into the future.

The Kentucky Republican noted the impeachment inquiry of President Richard M. Nixon was investigated for about 14 months and the special counsel probe into President Bill Clinton went on for years.

But unlike those prior precedents, the House Democrats’ inquiry into Mr. Trump lasted only 12 weeks.

“The House conduct risks deeply damaging the institutions of American government,” Mr. McConnell said, adding the lower chamber “let it’s the partisan rage at this particular president create a toxic new precedent that will echo well into the future.”

He noted both articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, list no crimes — different than prior impeachments of President Andrew Johnson, Mr. Nixon, and Mr. Clinton.

The House passed both articles without a single Republican vote, marking the first time in the history of the country that a president was impeached without bipartisan support.

Mr. McConnell said the Democrats have shown “uneasiness” over the work product they have produced, noting they are demanding more witnesses during the trial in the Senate because they realize their case is “much too weak.”

After the House passed the articles Wednesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested she would not yet transmit the articles to the Senate for the upper chamber to hold a trial against Mr. Trump.

Mr. McConnell said she must be “too afraid” and re-thinking her chamber’s actions.

“Too afraid to even transit their shoddy work product to the Senate,” Mr. McConnell said. “Looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country.”

He insisted his chamber will provide stability instead of partisanship.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, though, said Mr. McConnell provided no defense of Mr. Trump on the merits, saying he couldn’t defend the president’s decision to withhold aid to Ukraine in exchange for requesting a probe into a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, and his son Hunter. The alleged quid pro quo was exposed through a whistleblower complaint, which launched the House Democrats’ impeachment probe about three months ago.

Instead, the New York Democrat said Mr. McConnell claims the House held an unfair process for the president, but now he is not demonstrating the intent to hold a fair trial in the Senate.

“Their vision of the Senate is a far cry from the partisan body Senator McConnell has created,” Mr. Schumer said of Republicans.

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