In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for wanting to coordinate closely with the White House on the looming Senate impeachment trial, reports Mediaite.
McConnell announced earlier this week that he will “take cues” from President Donald Trump, coordinating with White House lawyers during the entire process. The comments provoked backlash among Democrats who argued that such a decision guarantees the trial will not be impartial.
Echoing these concerns, Nadler noted that senators are required by the Constitution to take a pledge of “impartial justice” before conducting an impeachment trial, but “here you have the majority leader of the Senate, and in effect, the floorman and the jury, saying he’s going to work hand and glove with the defense attorney.”
“That’s a violation of the oath they’re about to take, and it’s a complete subversion of the constitutional scheme,” the top Democrat on the committee said, before running through the accusations against Trump. According to Nadler, “the facts are basically uncontroverted” in the case against the president, and it is clear that he pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponents.
The congressman also argued that Trump not facing any consequences for what he has allegedly done would set a dangerous precedent, changing “the nature” of the United States government and allowing future presidents to engage in similar behavior with impunity.
“This changes the nature of our government. Do we have a constitutional democracy, or do we have a monarchy where the president is unaccountable? That’s what’s at stake here.”
Some Republicans have suggested that Democrats are misinterpreting McConnell’s remarks. On Saturday, Republican Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana said that the majority leader was referring to scheduling when he said that he wants to coordinate with the Trump White House.
However, McConnell not only vowed to coordinate with Trump and his lawyers during the impeachment trial, he also boasted that there is “no chance” the Senate would ever vote to convict the president.
The GOP-controlled Senate is indeed not expected to convict Trump, given that a majority of Republicans in Congress have fiercely defended the president against all accusations of wrongdoing.
According to House Democrats, Trump committed impeachable offenses when he pressured the Ukrainian government to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. According to Democrats, Trump froze military aid in order to force the Ukrainians to fulfill his request.