Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking on the Senate floor Thursday morning slammed the impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
“House Democrats embarked on the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history,” McConnell said. He went on to describe the two impeachment articles approved on Wednesday as “fundamentally unlike any articles that any prior House of Representatives has ever passed.”
“The framers built the Senate to provide stability…to keep partisan passions from boiling over,” McConnell said. “Moments like this are why the United States Senate exists.”
The House approved the two articles, one for obstruction of Congress and another for abuse of power, in a vote cast largely along party lines. Two Democrats joined Republicans in voting against both articles, and there were no Republican defectors.
McConnell repeated the fact that Trump has not been accused of a criminal act during the speech, saying that previous congresses have “resisted” the urge to impeach presidents absent evidence of a crime because doing so would establish a dangerous precedent.
The Senate’s majority leader also dismissed the idea that Trump’s resistance to congressional oversight efforts amounted to “obstruction,” as alleged in the second article of impeachment.
“It’s not a constitutional crisis for the House to want more information than a president wants to give up; it’s a routine occurence,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have suggested they will delay sending the articles to the Senate in a bid to influence the parameters of the upcoming impeachment trial. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) confirmed on CNN that he would be willing to retain the articles in the House, although he did not know if Pelosi was planning to do so.
In response to the delay tactic, McConnell accused Democrats of cowardice.
“Speaker Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate,” he said.