McConnell Blasts Pelosi for “Strange Gambit that Produced Nothing”
In a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for running a “strange gambit” of withholding the articles of impeachment for nearly a month. Arguing that Pelosi’s strategy of delaying the Senate trial of President Donald Trump “produced absolutely nothing” of worth, McConnell assured the Senate that he would never relinquish power over Congress’s upper chamber to the Speaker of the House.
“They’ve spent almost a month conceding that their own case does not stand on its own and searching for ways to supplement it from the outside,” McConnell said. “This is exactly the kind of toxic new precedent that many of us warned about in December. That Speaker Pelosi’s House was not sending the Senate a thorough investigation; they were just tossing up a ‘jump ball’ and hoping that political winds might blow things their way. And, here we are.
“Well, the Senate was never going to pre-commit ourselves to redoing the prosecutors’ homework for them,” he continued. “And we were never going to allow the Speaker of the House to dictate Senate proceedings to senators. House Democrats have already done enough damage to precedent, to national unity, and to our institutions of government. The Senate will not be sucked into this precedent-breaking path.
“We will fulfill our constitutional duty,” McConnell promised. “We will honor the reason for which the founders created this body: To ensure our institutions and our Republic can rise above short-term factional fever. The House has done enough damage. The Senate is ready to fulfill our duty.”
It’s certainly true, from any reasonable Republican’s point of view, that Pelosi accomplished exactly nothing with this impeachment – and that goes double for what McConnell called her “strange gambit” of delaying the transmission of the articles. But we’ve read some interesting analysis that says Pelosi’s madness may have a little more method that is immediately obvious.
One theory, proffered by former Rep. Trey Gowdy, is that Pelosi’s entire plan is centered around helping Democrats take back the Senate in November. The strategy goes something like this: Rush impeachment through the House (check), and then pressure Republicans to vote for/against calling additional witnesses in the Senate (check). The idea is that by putting endangered Republicans like Susan Collins on record voting against the calling of people like John Bolton, it will give Democrats attack ads they can use to unseat these Republicans and turn the Senate to their control in the election.
The other theory, endorsed by the Washington Post’s Henry Olsen, doesn’t make quite as much sense. On the one hand, Olsen argues that Pelosi has pandered successfully to progressives who have wanted Trump gone since the moment he took office. On the other, Olsen says that by delaying the trial, Pelosi can keep Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail in the weeks leading up to Iowa and New Hampshire – a blow that could give Joe Biden all the advantage he needs to pull ahead. We’re not sure if we see Pelosi as brilliant enough to both work for and against the progressive base, but we’ll concede that one or the other might be true.
Frankly, we kinda think it’s a lot more simple than any of that. After impeachment, Pelosi was Wile E. Coyote, having finally caught up to the Roadrunner. Only problem? The Roadrunner was standing fifty feet tall and looking down on her with amused contempt. Not knowing what else to do, she fled into her chambers with the impeachment articles and hoped beyond hope that she might be rescued from this predicament.
Unfortunately for her, the cavalry never arrived, and now the acquittal of Donald J. Trump will proceed as it always would have. Beep-beep.