As House Democrats prepare to hand off President Donald Trump‘s impeachment investigation to the U.S. Senate, one Democratic congresswoman is crying foul at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s role in the likely upcoming impeachment trial, calling for the senator to recuse himself completely.
According to The Hill, Florida Rep. Val Demings doesn’t believe it would be fair for McConnell to be a part of the trial based on an interview he recently gave while on Fox News, in which he claimed he would be working with White House counsel during the Senate trial.
“Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with the White House counsel,” McConnell stated on Thursday night. “There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this to the extent that we can.”
Demings, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, equated McConnell’s involvement with White House counsel while overseeing a Senate impeachment trial to “sabotage.”
“No court in the country would allow a member of the jury to also serve as the accused’s defense attorney. The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation of that oath,” Demings wrote in a recent statement.
Demings backed her claim by citing Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution, which essentially says that the Senate will be under oath while trying an impeachment. Because of the wording in the oath that mentions impartiality, Demings claims that the moment McConnell swears in under that oath, that he will be in violation of it since he claimed he’s working with the White House.
McConnell and other top Republican senators have repeatedly downplayed the impeachment inquiry and have all but promised to make sure that the Senate’s handling of the process will be in quick order.
When asked during the Fox News interview on whether or not the president would be calling witnesses during the trial, McConnell again dismissed the overall level of importance of the impeachment investigation, implying that it may not even require that the president call any witnesses.
“The president’s counsel may or may not decide they want to have witnesses. The case is so darn weak coming over from the House,” he said.
As rumors continue to swirl about the possibility of a number of Republican senators breaking with Trump and the White House and considering a vote to convict him, McConnell also recently dismissed that notion after Fox News’ Sean Hannity questioned if he knew of any Republicans considering a defection.
“I doubt it,” the Senate majority leader said.
In order to impeach and remove Trump from office, it would require a two-thirds majority vote — or 67 total senators. Republicans currently hold 53 seats in the Senate, making the Democrats’ chances of a successful conviction slim, short of an unprecedented turn of events.