Sen. McConnell urges Senate against passing War Powers Resolution

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, talks to reporters following a GOP strategy meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 1:55 PM PT — Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is warning against limiting the president’s war powers. On Wednesday, McConnell called Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-Va.) War Powers Resolution “blunt and clumsy.”

He went on to say the legislation “severely limits” the White House’s power to mitigate threats from Iran.

On Wednesday, the upper chamber voted to advance the resolution in a 51 to 45 vote. McConnell stood firm, comparing the resolution to the Democrats’ impeachment efforts.

“The collateral institutional damage of this action would fall on our military, its ability to operate quickly and adaptively, and emerging threats would be jeopardized. Like impeachment, this War Powers Resolution cuts short that interplay between the branches, it short circuits the deliberation and debate. It is (a) dangerously overbroad resolution that should not pass Congress, that is certain to be vetoed if it does.”

– Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader

The Senate is scheduled to hold a full vote on the measure this Thursday, but appears to lack the two-thirds majority needed to override an expected veto by the president.

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Sen. McConnell urges opposition to Dem-proposed motion to restrict President Trump’s war powers on Iran

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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UPDATED 11:38 AM PT — Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has ramped up calls to oppose the Democratic push to limit President Trump’s war powers.

While speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell called on his colleagues to defeat a proposed motion that requires President Trump to end all military operations against Iran within 30 days.

The majority leader said the resolution would severely damage America’s ability to defend itself and could embolden the Ayatollah regime to stage new attacks against the U.S.

“The ill-conceived potshots at presidential authorities in the wake of a strike that succeeded using the blunt instrument of a war powers resolution is no substitute at all for answering these broader questions,” stated McConnell. “I will oppose my colleagues’ resolution tomorrow, and I would encourage my colleagues to do likewise.”

The resolution is expected to pick up the four Republican votes needed for initial adoption. However, its further prospects remain unclear.

RELATED: McConnell Prepares For Votes On Five Judicial Nominees After Impeachment Trial Wraps Up

Original Article

McConnell prepares for votes on five judicial nominees after impeachment trial wraps up

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holds a news conference after the impeachment acquittal of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 6:54 AM PT — Thursday, February 6, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is ready to move forward, following the end of the impeachment trial. Just minutes after the final impeachment vote Wednesday, Sen. McConnell (R-Ky.) filed motions to hold votes on five of the president’s judicial nominees.

The move included Andrew Brasher to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. This shows McConnell and the president remain committed to judicial confirmations, which is something the president reaffirmed during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

“Working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, thank you Mitch, and his colleagues in the Senate we have confirmed a record number of 187 new federal judges to uphold our Constitution as written,” stated President Trump. “This includes two brilliant new Supreme Court justices; Neil Gorsuch andBbrett Kavanaugh.”

The Republican-led chamber is expected to begin with the confirmation process of Brasher on February 10th before moving on to four District Court nominees.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla, questions constitutional scholars during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on the constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) filed an ethics complaint against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her actions during Tuesday’s State of the Union address. He filed the charges with the House Ethics Committee Wednesday.

The Florida congressman has argued that Pelosi’s conduct was beneath the dignity of the House of Representatives and was a potential violation of the law. His complaint refers to Pelosi’s actions when she ripped up the president’s speech.

Rep. Gaetz added, the law does not allow the House speaker to destroy official records. He said “nobody is above the law” and urged that Pelsoi be held accountable for her behavior.

RELATED: House Speaker Pelosi under fire for behavior during the president’s State of the Union address

Original Article

McConnell: Senate to acquit President Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves after the Senate heard closing arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 1:27 PM PT — Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s voting to acquit President Trump on charges levied against him by House Democrats. He confirmed his intentions while speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday. At least 34 Republicans have reportedly said they will acquit the president, which would make a conviction mathematically impossible.

The Kentucky lawmaker said House Democrats think President Trump committed a crime by beating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. McConnell chastised the House on the impeachment process by calling it rushed and unfair. He claimed Democrats are the ones who abused their power.

“We’ve watched a major American political party adopt the following absurd proposition: ‘We think this president is a bull in a China shop, so we’re going to drive a bulldozer through the China shop to get rid of it.’ This fever led to the most rushed, least fair and least thorough presidential impeachment inquiry in American history.”

— Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader

McConnell said elections are the ultimate tool to assess a president’s character and policies, and added that Democrats are afraid they will lose again.

President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as he walks on the South Lawn as they depart the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Meanwhile, has President Trump took to Twitter ahead of Wednesday’s impeachment vote to highlight his support among Republicans as well as tout what he called “a new high” in regards to overall approval.

The president pointed to the surging U.S. economy and other major success as contributing factors to high approval. He went on to blast Democrats for their continued “witch hunts” and attempts to remove him from office.

RELATED: Trump defense team says acquittal is the only appropriate result of Impeachment trial

Original Article

McConnell has support needed to kill impeachment witness vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the chamber for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 6:30 PM PT — Thursday, January 30, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is confident he will have the votes needed to stop Democrats from calling more impeachment witnesses. This came after McConnell said he was unsure if he would have the support needed to kill the vote earlier this week.

Democrats would need four Republicans to vote with them in order to call more witnesses for the trial.

“I hope that we have just four Republicans, all we need is four, who rise to the occasion and say we need to find out the truth,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael Steele said McConnell spoke with senators, like Lisa Murkowski, who were considered potential swing votes in hopes of persuading them to vote in line with the party.

“There will be no more witnesses and there will be no new evidence that will be introduced because you’re not going to get the fourth senator,” said Steele. “That fourth senator is not going to land because Mitch McConnell has such a tight grip on this process.”

If the Senate kills the vote as expected, the upper chamber could move forward with a vote to formally acquit the president as early as Friday.

RELATED: Sen. McConnell Slams Democrats For ‘Celebrating’ Impeachment, Republicans Debate Possible Trial Testimonies

Original Article

Schumer doubles down on push for impeachment trial subpoenas, as McConnell declares ‘impasse’

closeSchumer defends request for impeachment witnesses: What are Republicans afraid of?Video

Schumer defends request for impeachment witnesses: What are Republicans afraid of?

Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer calls on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to give an explanation for why he rejects witnesses in a potential impeachment trial.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is making a renewed push for the Senate to issue subpoenas demanding testimony and documents as part of President Trump's expected impeachment trial, citing new emails related to the withholding of Ukraine military aid — even as Republicans reject the demands as premature.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter sent Monday to fellow senators, the Senate minority leader cited records including a newly revealed email that Office of Management and Budget Associate Director Michael Duffey sent to Defense Department officials roughly an hour-and-a-half after Trump's famous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The email showed a push to place aid on hold, after Trump made his request for Ukraine's help in political investigations.

TRUMP ACCUSES PELOSI OF 'CRYING FOR FAIRNESS' IN SENATE TRIAL AFTER 'UNFAIR' HOUSE IMPEACHMENT

"Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration's plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process," Duffey said in the email, obtained by The Center for Public Integrity via a Freedom of Information Act request. Duffey concluded by stating, "Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute the direction."

With the email fueling allegations of a quid pro quo, which Trump denies, Schumer claimed that the known existence of this message shows a need to obtain other records.

"The December 21st release of partially-redacted versions of these communications in response to the FOIA lawsuit further underscores why the Senate must review all of these records in unredacted form," Schumer wrote.

Sen. Mitch McConnell calls Nancy Pelosi's decision to withhold articles of impeachment an 'absurd position'Video

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., meanwhile, has objected to Schumer's demands for subpoenas, claiming it is not the Senate's job to collect facts going into an impeachment trial — maintaining that was the role of the House impeachment inquiry.

While Democrats note that the White House instructed current and former officials not to comply with House requests, the House opted not to challenge the Trump administration's assertion of privilege in court.

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On Monday morning, McConnell told "Fox & Friends" that he has spoken to Schumer, but so far no progress has been made.

At the same time, he is waiting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate, claiming he has no authority to move forward until that happens. Pelosi has stated that she will not appoint impeachment managers to represent the House until the Senate determines the trial's process. McConnell has argued the Senate should follow the Clinton impeachment model, proceeding with a trial while working out the details of potential witnesses and other matters later.

“We’re at an impasse, we can’t do anything until the speaker sends the papers over," McConnell said. "So everybody, enjoy the holidays.”

But Schumer countered in his letter that during the Clinton trial, the Senate "had the benefit of thousands of pages of documents from the Department of Justice investigation by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr."

He added: "There simply is no good reason why evidence that is directly relevant to the conduct at issue in the Articles of Impeachment should be withheld from the Senate and the American people. Relevant documentary evidence currently in the possession of the Administration will augment the existing evidentiary record and will allow Senators to reach judgments informed by all of the available facts."

For his part, Trump slammed Pelosi on Monday for making demands of the Senate regarding his pending trial.

"Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so," Trump tweeted Monday morning. "She lost Congress once, she will do it again!"

Original Article

Al Franken compares Mitch McConnell to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in post-impeachment tweet

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Nearly two years removed from the U.S. Senate, it appears Al Franken may be trying to revive his comedy career.

In a Twitter message posted Thursday, Franken wrote that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., discussing the “decline of bipartisanship” — in his speech on the Senate floor after the House voted to impeach President Trump — was like convicted serial killer and sex offender Jeffrey Dahmer talking about “dinner party etiquette."

Franken, 68, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer, was a Democrat who represented Minnesota in the Senate from 2009 to 2018. He resigned over groping allegations at the height of the #MeToo movement, following high-profile claims against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, NBC News star Matt Lauer and others.

AL FRANKEN SPEAKS OUT ABOUT HIS RESIGNATION AFTER #METOO ACCUSATIONS: I DESERVE DUE PROCESS

The longtime comedian was accused of acts of sexual misconduct, including claims by Leeann Tweeden, who said he groped her and kissed her against her will during a USO tour in 2006. A photo emerged of Franken smiling as he appeared to touch Tweeden’s breasts while she was sleeping. Tweeden eventually accepted Franken’s public apology.

Al Franken arrives at the U.S. Senate to announce his resignation over allegatons of sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 7, 2017. (Reuters)

Al Franken arrives at the U.S. Senate to announce his resignation over allegatons of sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 7, 2017. (Reuters)

A fellow Democrat, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, was a vocal critic of Franken but later said he was entitled to a "path to redemption."

Franken's tweet came after McConnell declared that the Senate and House Democrats were at an "impasse" over whether the House would transmit its articles of impeachment against Trump to the GOP-controlled Senate for a constitutionally mandated trial.

“Let's be clear: The House's vote yesterday was not some neutral judgment,” McConnell said. “It was the predetermined end of a partisan crusade."

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had insisted on "departing from the unanimous bipartisan precedent that 100 senators approved before the beginning of President Clinton's trial" concerning logistics.

Sen. Mitch McConnell says Senate remains at an impasse over impeachment logisticsVideo

Dahmer, dubbed the “Milwaukee Cannibal,” was convicted of murdering 17 males between 1978 and 1991, often luring them to his home where he strangled them to death, performed sex acts on their corpses and saved — and reportedly ate — their dismembered body parts. He was killed in prison by an inmate in 1994.

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Franken now hosts "The Al Franken Podcast," available on iTunes and Spotify.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Original Article

McConnell: ‘Impasse’ over Trump impeachment trial, Dems have ‘cold feet’

closeArticles of impeachment will sit in House until 2020 as lawmakers leave Washington for holiday recessVideo

Articles of impeachment will sit in House until 2020 as lawmakers leave Washington for holiday recess

Nancy Pelosi says she's holding out for assurances there will be a fair trial in the Senate; chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel reports from Capitol Hill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., incredulously declared on the Senate floor late Thursday that the Senate and House Democrats were at an "impasse" over whether the House would transmit its articles of impeachment against President Trump to the GOP-controlled Senate for a constitutionally mandated trial.

McConnell, speaking after a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the top Democrat had insisted on "departing from the unanimous bipartisan precedent that 100 senators approved before the beginning of President [Bill] Clinton's trial" concerning logistics.

The back-and-forth rhetoric comes as Noah Feldman, the Harvard Law School professor who testified for Democrats at the impeachment inquiry earlier this month, wrote an op-ed asserting that if Democrats do not forward the impeachment articles to the Senate as dictated by the Constitution, then Trump was never even impeached at all.

MCCARTHY MOCKS PELOSI FOR SHOOTING DOWN IMPEACHMENT QUESTIONS FROM REPORTERS

Schumer had requested a "special pre-trial guarantee of certain witnesses whom the House Democrats, themselves, did not bother to pursue as they assemble their case," McConnell said. He noted that in 1999, "all 100 senators endorsed a common-sense solution" to divide the process into two stages: one laying the groundwork for rules on matters such as opening statements, with another handling "mid-trial questions such as witnesses."

Schumer accuses McConnell of plotting the most rushed Senate impeachment trial in historyVideo

"Some House Democrats imply they are withholding the [impeachment] articles for some kind of leverage," McConnell said. "I admit, I'm not sure what leverage there is in refraining from sending us something we do not want. Alas, if they can figure that out, they can explain."

He continued: "Following weeks of pronouncements about the urgency of the situation, urgent situation, the prosecutors appear to have developed cold feet. Democrat prosecution seems to gotten cold feet, and to be unsure about whether they want to proceed to the trial, like I said, a very unusual spectacle. And in my view, certainly not one that reflects well on the House.

"So we'll see we'll see whether House Democrats ever want to work up the courage to actually take their accusation to trial," McConnell concluded, after slamming Democrats for advancing a "muddled" message on the topic. "Let me close with this, Mr. President. I am proud the Senate came together today to confirm more well-qualified nominees and pass major legislation for the American people."

Earlier in the day, McConnell delivered a separate address, which Schumer bashed as a "30-minute partisan stem-winder."

"This particular House of Representatives has let its partisan rage at this particular president create a toxic new precedent that will echo well into the future,” McConnell said on the floor.

IMPEACHMENT VOTE MAY UNDERCUT DEMS' COURT CASES AGAINST TRUMP ADMIN, DC APPELLATE COURT SUGGESTS

"Is the president’s case so weak that none of the president’s men can defend him under oath?" Schumer asked. "If the House’s case is so weak, why is Leader McConnell so afraid of witnesses and documents?"

President Trump takes aim at House Speaker Pelosi for not sending articles of impeachment to the SenateVideo

Feldman, in his op-ed, cautioned that impeachment "means the House sending its approved articles of impeachment to the Senate, with House managers standing up in the Senate and saying the president is impeached."

Therefore, "if the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president," Feldman said." If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all."

Late Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., floated the possibility that the House would not send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, where McConnell likely would oversee a strong defense of the president that could prove politically damaging for vulnerable Democrats.

"We’ll make a decision… as we go along." Pelosi told reporters, adding that "we'll see what the process will be on the Senate side."

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On Thursday, Pelosi hastily shot down questions on impeachment and sending the articles to the Senate, prompting mockery from top GOP officials.

In 1998, after the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, the House sent the charges off to the Senate within minutes. This time around, the House may want to hold onto the articles as leverage to extract concessions from Senate Republicans — or to bury impeachment, as it proves increasingly unpopular among moderates in key battleground states.

Original Article

McConnell rips Pelosi for impeachment delay, says Dems ‘afraid’ to transmit ‘shoddy’ articles

closeMitch McConnell: Dems setting 'toxic precedent' with predetermined partisan outcomeVideo

Mitch McConnell: Dems setting 'toxic precedent' with predetermined partisan outcome

Speaking on impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says House Democrats are conducting "most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set the stage Thursday for a potentially bruising fight between the leadership of the two chambers over impeachment, as he tore into Nancy Pelosi for “shoddy work” and said Democrats may be “too afraid” to send the articles to the Senate after the House speaker abruptly held off on transmitting them.

“This particular House of Representatives has let its partisan rage at this particular president create a toxic new precedent that will echo well into the future,” McConnell said on the floor, accusing Democrats of giving into "temptation" with their impeachment vote while challenging their handling of the articles in the aftermath.

McConnell’s remarks came the morning after House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in relation to his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

HOUSE IMPEACHES TRUMP OVER UKRAINE DEALINGS, AS PELOSI FLOATS HOLDING UP SENATE TRIAL

McConnell decried the effort, for which no Republicans voted, as “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.” It taps into long-standing complaints by Republicans that the impeachment has trampled over minority rights in the House, and that Democrats were pursuing an outcome they have preordained before Trump was even sworn into office.

After an impeachment in the House, the articles are normally sent over to the upper chamber for an impeachment trial. Yet in the latest twist, Pelosi has indicated that she may not send over articles of impeachment yet — until she gets reassurances about the Senate process.

"We’ll make a decision… as we go along." Pelosi told reporters, adding that "we'll see what the process will be on the Senate side."

"We have acted," Pelosi continued, repeatedly refusing to commit to sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. "Now, they'll understand what their responsibilities are, and we'll see what that is.”

Pelosi insisted that Republicans would need to run a fair trial if the matter made its way to the Senate, without explaining what exactly she was seeking.

Pelosi hints she may delay sending impeachment articles to SenateVideo

While the move could be a way of trying to draw some concessions from McConnell, it may also be a play stop a potentially damaging Senate trial altogether, in which the Republican-dominated chamber could call witnesses such as former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

It would also leave Trump with an awkward status quo in which he is impeached, but cannot claim exoneration in a Senate trial — in which he would be widely expected to win acquittal. However, it also risks dragging impeachment out deep into 2020, just as some polls indicate the public is souring on the process.

GABBARD STUNS BY VOTING 'PRESENT' ON IMPEACHMENT, SLAMS PARTISAN SHAM

McConnell accused Pelosi of suggesting “that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate.”

McConnell is expected to meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., but any delay in the House could lead to McConnell refusing to meet with Schumer, giving the excuse that there are no articles for them yet to discuss since they have not been transmitted.

Trump, meanwhile, attacked the “do nothing Democrats” for wanting to “do nothing” with the impeachment articles.

“I got Impeached last night without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” he tweeted. “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!”

“The Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.” If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!” he added.

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In his remarks, McConnell said that the Senate’s duty is to rise to the occasion on matters as grave as impeachment and to give the nation some stability.

“The framers built the Senate to provide stability… To keep partisan passions from boiling over,” he said. “Moments like this are why the United States Senate exists.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Brooke Singman and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Original Article

McConnell says he’ll address Senate floor Thursday morning, day after House impeachment vote

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to address the Senate floor at 9 a.m. ET Thursday — the day after the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress" related to his dealings with Ukraine.

“At 9:30am tomorrow morning, on the Senate floor, I will speak about House Democrats’ precedent-breaking impeachment of the President of the United States,” McConnell tweeted Thursday night.

MCCONNELL: 'WE'VE HEARD ENOUGH' ON IMPEACHMENT, PROLONGED SENATE TRIAL COULD BE 'EMBARRASSING SCENE'

Article one, abuse of power, passed on a 230-197 vote, with two Democrats joining Republicans in voting nay. The obstruction-of-Congress vote was 229-197, with three Democrats voting nay. No Republicans supported either article. 2020 presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, voted “present,” indicating she did not support impeachment. Trump became the third U.S. president to be impeached after the historic vote.

In a news conference following the House impeachment vote Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested Democrats may wait to send their articles of impeachment against Trump to the GOP-controlled Senate until they’re assured Republicans are capable of holding a fair trial.

McConnell told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week that he would coordinate with the White House counsel when setting the procedure for the Senate trial, adding that “There will be no difference from the president’s position and our position.”

Waiting to send the articles to the Senate could prove to be a tactical play for Democrats – as leaving Trump in limbo would mean he’s an impeached president – and would prevent him from an almost certain acquittal in a trial in the GOP-controlled upper chamber of Congress. That would leave the president open to claim he was exonerated as he campaigns for re-election in 2020.

Under the rules of impeachment, the Senate has no option but to turn to impeachment once the articles are handed over from the House. Because the Republicans have the majority, McConnell will have the authority to decide on the procedures of the trial.

On Wednesday morning, McConnell rejected a request from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to subpoena new documents and call witnesses who had been blocked by the White House during the impeachment inquiry on the House side.

"The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury, to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it,” McConnell told the Senate floor.

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In a letter on Sunday, Schumer suggested dates for the trial, a presentation of the articles by impeachment managers, a list of witnesses including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, how to handle the witnesses, and ideas on how much time the Senate should devote to debate in the trial.

McConnell stressed the fact-finding mission should have been completed during the impeachment inquiry led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. He accused the House of doing a rush job, and said Schumer is now looking "to make Chairman Schiff's sloppy work more persuasive."

Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and Julia Musto contributed to this report.

Original Article

Could Dems defect in Trump impeachment trial? McConnell sees opening

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Speaking on impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says House Democrats are conducting

The Democratic senators who hail from states won by President Trump in 2016 are being eyed as possible acquittal votes in a Senate impeachment trial, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes at least a Democrat or two could defect.

It comes as the House barrels toward a floor vote on impeachment planned for Wednesday. If articles of impeachment are approved as expected, the Senate would follow with a trial in early 2020 where senators act as jurors.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats,” McConnell, R-Ky., said during a recent appearance on Fox News' “Hannity."

HANNITY EXCLUSIVE: MCCONNELL SAYS 'ZERO CHANCE' TRUMP IS REMOVED, 'ONE OR TWO DEMOCRATS' COULD VOTE TO ACQUIT

The most popular parlor game right now in Washington focuses on the House side — specifically, on which Democrats from Trump-won districts would vote to impeach, or defect, even though impeachment is widely seen as inevitable. On the Senate side, where Republicans hold the majority and the threshold for conviction is a steep two-thirds majority, Trump is expected to easily be acquitted. But Republicans nevertheless would like to peel off a Democrat or more in the upper chamber, which could make the vote bipartisan.

A source familiar with Senate impeachment trial plans told Fox News that Republicans believe the Democrats most likely to vote to acquit are Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., both of whom represent red states that went for Trump in 2016.

Manchin is still undecided, according to a source familiar with his thinking. In a recent appearance on CNN, Manchin said, "I'm very much torn on it. I think it weighs on everybody."

Another source said they believe Jones — who is up for re-election next year in the pro-Trump state and is often considered the most vulnerable incumbent — is likely to be the first Democrat defection.

Jones told a local interviewer this week that “I’m concerned that the impeachment inquiry is going to hurt the country," lamenting how it has become such "a partisan issue now."

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, and Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., are believed to be possible votes to acquit the president in an impeachment trial. (AP/Reuters)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, and Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., are believed to be possible votes to acquit the president in an impeachment trial. (AP/Reuters)

Other Democratic senators believed to be in play are Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. Trump carried both states in 2016.

Sinema is the first Democrat elected to represent the typically red-leaning state in the Senate since 1995. Sinema has not signaled publicly which way she would vote on impeachment.

Peters recently told local journalists that, "It’s important to collect all of the facts regarding the situation, and certainly what facts are out there are very troublesome."

“Those four Democrats are damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” a senior GOP aide told Fox News, referring to Manchin, Jones, Peters and Sinema. “They will have to resist the Trump derangement syndrome that is consuming their Democrat colleagues.”

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are making the case that Republicans could join them in a vote to convict Trump. Those most often mentioned as possibilities are Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who has not shied from criticizing Trump; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who sometimes crosses party lines in votes.

But Republican sources told Fox News that none of those lawmakers have signaled any movement on the final Senate vote on whether to remove the president from office, and McConnell has said it has been his goal from the beginning to keep Republicans together on the issue.

The source also told Fox News that a recent letter penned by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., laying out his proposed parameters for what a Senate impeachment trial would look like and which witnesses should be included did not move the needle one way or the other for Republicans whose votes could be wavering.

IN TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, SENATE GOP COULD TURN TABLES ON DEMS

<br>Video

“My hope is that there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles in the House,” McConnell told “Hannity,” while also saying that the impeachment case is “so darn weak” and that the outcome is easy to predict.

“There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office,” McConnell said last week, noting that he has “no choice but to take it up” but the trial would be “in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president.”

At the center of the impeachment inquiry is Trump’s efforts to press Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically related investigations—regarding former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine, as well as issues related to the 2016 presidential election. The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats have argued shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

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The House Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to adopt two articles of impeachment against Trump, alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, on a party-line vote of 23-17. A final roll call in the full House is expected Wednesday.

A massive impeachment report issued this past weekend by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., stated: "This continued solicitation of foreign interference in a U.S. election, as well as President Trump’s other actions, present a clear and present danger that the President will continue to use the power of his office for his personal political gain."

Original Article

McConnell slams door on impeachment trial witnesses

closeMcConnell rips Schumer's requests for Senate impeachment trial: This could set a 'nightmarish precedent'Video

McConnell rips Schumer's requests for Senate impeachment trial: This could set a 'nightmarish precedent'

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell accuses Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer's letter of misquoting the Constitution and misunderstanding the impeachment process.

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On the roster: McConnell slams door on impeachment trial witnesses – Congress readies rush vote on porky spending plan – Dems settle union hash to save debate – House GOP stalwart Walker quits after redistricting – Next time, stick with the little trees
MCCONNELL SLAMS DOOR ON IMPEACHMENT TRIAL WITNESSES
WaPo: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday rejected calls from his Democratic counterpart to subpoena new witnesses in a Senate trial of President Trump, calling it ‘a strange request at this juncture.’ McConnell was responding to a letter from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) seeking testimony from senior administration officials, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who declined to appear in House impeachment proceedings. The House, meanwhile, was expected to move one step closer to impeaching Trump on Tuesday, as the Rules Committee prepared to meet to set the parameters for the historic debate on Wednesday over Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine. … Two Democratic aides said Tuesday that a procedural measure setting up debate on the articles will empower House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to name managers ‘at any point’ after the House votes to impeach Trump.”
Swing district Dems fall in, setting up Wednesday vote – WSJ: “More Democrats from competitive House districts said they will back the impeachment of President Trump, putting the effort on track to pass this week despite some fears that their position could put their seats at risk. The House plans to vote on Wednesday. With Mr. Trump’s impeachment looking likely, Democratic leaders are also to soon announce which members had been suggested as impeachment managers – essentially prosecutors – during the Senate trial, which is expected to kick off in January. Democrats have largely united behind impeachment. By Monday afternoon, at least 17 from the 31 Democratic-held districts that Mr. Trump won in the 2016 presidential race had announced they would support the abuse-of-power and obstruction of Congress charges, according to a Wall Street Journal survey, with two saying they are opposed.”
Voters not budging – WaPo: “As the House prepares to vote on two articles of impeachment against President Trump, Americans remain both deeply divided and locked into their positions over which course lawmakers should pursue, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. … Despite the stalemate, most Democrats and Republicans alike expect that a likely Senate impeachment trial will give Trump a fair hearing. Bipartisan majorities, including almost 2 in 3 Republicans, also say he should allow his top aides to testify, something he blocked during the House inquiry. On the eve of the House vote, 49 percent of Americans say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 46 percent say he should not. Those are essentially identical to findings at the end of October, when 49 percent favored impeachment and removal and 47 percent opposed.”
Q Poll: Independents oppose impeachment – Quinnipiac University: “Republicans say President Trump should not be impeached from office 95 – 5 percent, independents say the president should not be impeached and removed from office 58 – 36 percent, while Democrats say President Trump should be impeached and removed from office 86 – 11 percent. Nearly 9 out of 10 voters who have an opinion, 87 percent, say their mind is made up about impeachment, while 12 percent say they might change their mind.”
CONGRESS READIES RUSH VOTE ON PORKY SPENDING PLAN
AP: “House leaders on Monday unveiled a $1.4 trillion government-wide spending package that’s carrying an unusually large load of unrelated provisions catching a ride on the last train out of Congress this year. A House vote is slated for Tuesday on the sprawling package, some 2,313 pages long, as lawmakers wrap up reams of unfinished work — and vote on impeaching President Donald Trump. The legislation would forestall a government shutdown this weekend and give Trump steady funding for his U.S.-Mexico border fence. The year-end package is anchored by a $1.4 trillion spending measure that caps a difficult, months-long battle over spending priorities. … The bill would also increase the age nationwide for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21, and offers business-friendly provisions on export financing, flood insurance and immigrant workers.”
THE RULEBOOK: PEN OR SWORD?
“It is a singular instance of the capriciousness of the human mind, that after all the admonitions we have had from experience on this head, there should still be found men who object to the new Constitution, for deviating from a principle which has been found the bane of the old, and which is in itself evidently incompatible with the idea of GOVERNMENT; a principle, in short, which, if it is to be executed at all, must substitute the violent and sanguinary agency of the sword to the mild influence of the magistracy.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 15
TIME OUT: DNA FROM ABC GUM
Smithsonian: “Some of the first chewing gums, made of birch tar and other natural substances, have been preserved for thousands of years, including a 5,700-year-old piece of Stone Age gum unearthed in Denmark. For archaeologists, the sticky stuff’s longevity can help piece together the lives of ancient peoples who masticated on the chewy tar. The ancient birch gum in Scandinavia preserved enough DNA to reconstruct the full human genome of its ancient chewer, identify the microbes that lived in her mouth, and even reveal the menu of a prehistoric meal. … Birch pitch, made by heating the tree’s bark, was commonly used across Scandinavia as a prehistoric glue for attaching stone tools to handles. When found, it commonly contains tooth marks. Scientists suspect several reasons why people would have chewed it: to make it malleable once again after it cooled, to ease toothaches because it’s mildly antiseptic, to clean teeth, to ease hunger pains, or simply because they enjoyed it.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 26.6 points (no change in points from last wk.)
Sanders: 18 points (↑ 0.6 points from last wk.)
Warren: 14.8 points (↓ 3.4 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 9.2 points (↓ 0.8 points from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 5.4 points (first listing)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, USA Today/Suffolk University, NPR/PBS/Marist, Fox News and IBD.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 44.4 percent
Average disapproval: 51.8 percent
Net Score: -7.4 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 2.2 points
[Average includes: CNN: 44% approve – 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve – 52% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk University: 48% approve – 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; IBD: 44% approve – 52% disapprove.]
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DEMS SETTLE UNION HASH TO SAVE DEBATE
Fox News: “A tentative agreement has been struck in a labor dispute between food service workers and their employer at Loyola Marymount University that threatened to derail Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate. The food services company Sodexo negotiated late into Monday evening with their employees at Loyola Marymount University to secure a tentative contract agreement. A formal vote is expected to take place on Tuesday. Unite Here Local 11 – the labor union representing the workers – said last Friday that they would picket the debate at the Los Angeles-area school if no agreement was reached with Sodexo. All seven Democratic presidential candidates who qualified for the debate said they wouldn’t cross a picket line to take the stage, which threw the debate into limbo. The three-year tentative agreement includes a 25 percent increase in salary, a 50 percent drop in health care costs, and increases in workers’ job security. All sides are expected to release more details at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Los Angeles.”
Biden still rising in Q Poll – Quinnipiac University: “In the Democratic primary race for president, former Vice President Joe Biden leads the field with 30 percent of the vote among Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic. Biden is followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 17 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders with 16 percent, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 9 percent. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has 7 percent, while businessman Andrew Yang and Sen. Amy Klobuchar get 3 percent each. No other candidate tops 2 percent. There is still a lot of room for movement in the Democratic primary as 61 percent say they might change their mind, while 38 percent say their mind is made up.”
New scrutiny for old harassment claims against Bloomberg – ABC News: “Mike Bloomberg has on repeated occasions faced and fought allegations that he directed crude and sexist comments to women in his office, including a claim in the 1990s that he told an employee who had just announced she was pregnant to ‘kill it.’ …[O]ver the years a number of women have alleged in legal filings that Bloomberg’s use of lewd comments around co-workers fostered a frat-like culture at the company he founded and still owns. … Quotes attributed to him in court filings include, ‘I’d like to do that piece of meat,’ and ‘I would DO you in a second.’ Court records reviewed by ABC News indicate that at least 17 women have taken legal action against the company over the past three decades, with three of the cases specifically naming Bloomberg for his role in the company’s culture. None of the cases made it to trial…”
Can Warren and Sanders stay friendly? – NYT: “For center-left Democrats, that’s exactly their hope — that [Warren and Sanders] divide votes in so many contests that neither is able to capture the nomination. Moderates in the party fear that if Ms. Warren or Mr. Sanders pull away — or if they ultimately join forces — the ticket would unnerve independent voters and go down in defeat against President Trump. Interviews with aides from both camps — who spoke on the condition they not be named because they warn their own surrogates not to criticize the other — produce a common refrain. The two candidates are loath to attack each other because they fear negativity would merely antagonize the other’s supporters. The only way to eventually poach the other’s voters, each campaign believes, is by winning considerably more votes in the first caucuses and primaries.”
HOUSE GOP STALWART WALKER QUITS AFTER REDISTRICTING
Politico: “Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) won't seek public office next year, backing off after threatening to primary GOP Sen. Thom Tillis and two members of his own delegation. He announced his decision Monday, a stunning outcome for the ambitious politician just weeks after court-prompted redistricting turned his reliably Republican seat in north-central North Carolina into safe Democratic territory. Walker, a member of House GOP leadership and former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, was first elected to an open seat in 2014. In the statement, Walker said he would seriously consider running for Senate in 2022, when GOP Sen. Richard Burr is expected to retire after finishing his current term. Walker initially seemed desperate to remain on the ballot in 2020.”
Dems play favorites in Texas Senate primary – Texas Tribune: “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is endorsing MJ Hegar in the crowded primary to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. The move by the DSCC, the political arm of Senate Democrats, is one of the biggest developments yet in the nominating contest, which has drawn a dozen candidates — some more serious than others but no decisive frontrunners. The endorsement drew pushback from at least four of Hegar's competitors, two of whom accused national Democrats of snubbing more diverse candidates for Hegar, who is white.”
PLAY-BY-PLAY
Walter Russell Mead
: A Burkean landslide in Britain – WSJ
GOP push to reform FISA gains momentum in wake of Horowitz report
Fox News
AUDIBLE: ICONOGRAPHY
“Obviously his hair, obviously just how big he is, and just his eyes. I mean just everything about him.” – NYT photographer Doug Mills in an interview with CBS News explaining why President Trump is the most iconic president he’s photographed.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I saw you on [Special Report with] Bret Baier discussing the upcoming Democratic debate, and the qualification rules that are preventing some minority candidates from appearing on the debate stage. Aren’t Cory Booker and Julian Castro just asking the Democratic Party for a little affirmative action? It seems hypocritical to me for the Democrats to push affirmative action for everyone else, but not themselves. Your thoughts?” – Kevin Cook, Farmers Branch, Texas
[Ed. note: I don’t know about that, but I do know that the main purpose of political parties is choosing candidates to compete in and, they hope, win elections. It’s reasonable to argue that Democrats would be ill-served in the election to have a white, male nominee in his late 70s when mobilizing younger, female and minority voters is a party. It’s equally reasonable to argue, though, that it’s important for Democrats to have a candidate who can connect with working-class, older white voters who shunned the party in 2016. But those are debates between candidates and campaigns, not for the party itself. I also think the DNC is getting a raw deal here. Their debate thresholds have been, if anything, far too permissive, as evinced by the fact that we’re only seeing fewer than 10 candidates on stage for the first time in December.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
NEXT TIME, STICK WITH THE LITTLE TREES
Fox News: “A driver in England accidentally blew up his car when he lit a cigarette after spraying air freshener inside, officials said. The unidentified man sprayed an ‘excessive’ amount of aerosol spray in his car, which was parked in Halifax, West Yorkshire, on Saturday when he decided to grab a cigarette. Witnesses told the Manchester Evening News they heard an ‘enormous bang’ — and saw the car's windows shatter and nearby buildings shake. The driver reportedly made it out of the car with minor injuries and was treated by first responders, but West Yorkshire Police said in a statement the situation ‘could have been worse.’ ‘The owner of a car parked on that street and had used an air freshener can but not ventilated his car before lighting his cigarette,’ West Yorkshire Police said in a statement. ‘The fumes exploded and blew out his windscreen, along with some windows at nearby business premises.’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“A standardized math test was given to 13-year-olds in six countries last year. Koreans did the best. Americans did the worst, coming in behind Spain, Britain, Ireland and Canada. Now the bad news. Besides being shown triangles and equations, the kids were shown the statement ‘I am good at mathematics.’ Koreans came last in this category. Only 23% answered yes. Americans were No. 1, with an impressive 68% in agreement. American students may not know their math, but they have evidently absorbed the lessons of the newly fashionable self-esteem curriculum wherein kids are taught to feel good about themselves.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on Feb. 5, 1990.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Original Article

McConnell rips Schumer impeachment demands, vows not to pursue ‘fishing expedition’

closeMcConnell rips Schumer's requests for Senate impeachment trial: This could set a 'nightmarish precedent'Video

McConnell rips Schumer's requests for Senate impeachment trial: This could set a 'nightmarish precedent'

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell accuses Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer's letter of misquoting the Constitution and misunderstanding the impeachment process.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell struck back Tuesday at his Democratic counterpart's calls for an in-depth impeachment trial featuring multiple new witnesses, dismissing the push as a "fishing expedition" that would set a "nightmarish precedent."

"The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury, to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it,” he said on the Senate floor.

SCHUMER CALLS FOR FAIR TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

In a Sunday letter, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer had called for the chamber to subpoena new documents and call witnesses who had been blocked by the White House during the impeachment inquiry on the House side.

McConnell, R-Ky., claimed that such investigative steps, though, were part of the House role — not a mission for the Senate. He warned that entertaining Schumer’s proposal to do House lawmakers’ “homework” could invite a string of future “dubious” and “frivolous” impeachment inquiries.

President Trump dismisses impeachment push as Chuck Schumer seeks White House witnessesVideo

He stressed the fact-finding mission should have been completed during the impeachment inquiry led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. McConnell accused the House of doing a rush job, and said Schumer is now looking "to make Chairman Schiff's sloppy work more persuasive."

SCHIFF TOWN HALL ERUPTS

The comments come as the full House prepares to vote as early as Wednesday on impeachment articles, alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over President Trump's bid to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats. McConnell and Schumer are poised to meet in the near future to discuss the framework for an expected Senate trial, but have traded barbs in the run-up to their sit-down.

The majority leader on Tuesday also pointed out that Schumer's letter referenced “keeping with the bipartisan spirit” of the procedures followed in the 1999 impeachment trial of then-President Bill Clinton, but stated that Schumer then went on “to demand things that would break with the 1999 model.” For example, he recalled that the 1999 impeachment trial procedures were laid out in two separate resolutions, with many of the details coming after it began and following a motion to dismiss that had been filed by Democrats including Schumer himself. Schumer’s letter, however, called for all procedures to be set out in a single resolution.

"Look, most people understand what the democratic leader is really after," McConnell said, alleging that what Schumer wanted to do was "lock in live witnesses."

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Schumer's letter called for subpoenas for witnesses who had not appeared before the House, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. The House had requested that the witnesses testify before them, but when they refused, the House declined to take further action. McConnell claimed this was because they were not interested in due process.

Original Article

McConnell bashed by Dems for delaying USMCA vote until after impeachment trial

closeNancy Pelosi: 'No question' USMCA 'much better than NAFTA'Video

Nancy Pelosi: 'No question' USMCA 'much better than NAFTA'

Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses the USMCA negotiations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took fire from House Democrats on Tuesday after saying he will wait until after President Trump's impeachment trial is over before bringing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to the Senate floor for a vote.

USMCA would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994 under former President Bill Clinton. Trump has been an outspoken advocate of the new pact and has publicly pushed for House Democrats to hold a final vote.

McConnell announced his decision shortly after House Democrats said they'd reached an agreement with the White House on how to proceed.

"We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate between now and next week," McConnell said at a Capitol Hill news conference. "That will happen… right after the [impeachment] trial is finished in the Senate."

TRUMP CALLS ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT 'WEAK' AND ONLY REASON DEMS AGREED TO USMCA

A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized McConnell's stance and said he has no legitimate reason for delaying the Senate vote, claiming each chamber could approve the measure simultaneously.

“The House and Senate passed Korea, Panama and Colombia trade agreements on the same day. Senator McConnell has no excuse not to bring up the USMCA," the spokesman said.

Fox News reached out to McConnell's office for comment and was told that the Majority Leader does not view his decision as a delay. His office referred Fox News to the rules under the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which state that the Senate can take up to 30 days to consider the House bill.

"The Senate Finance Committee must report the bill no later than 15 session days after the House passes the bill," the Senate Republican Policy Committee website states. "If the Finance Committee fails to report the bill, it is automatically placed on the Senate calendar for a vote. The full Senate vote must take place within 15 session days after report or discharge to the floor."

TRUMP, AT PENNSYLVANIA RALLY, SAYS 'STUPID' IMPEACHMENT INDIRECTLY LED TO USMCA DEAL

McConnell's office also pointed to a September op-ed co-authored by the majority leader in support of USMCA and said it was ironic for House Democrats to accuse the GOP of delaying the legislation.

"The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is unambiguously a win for America. It would create new jobs, expand export markets, strengthen protections for workers and generate billions of dollars in new prosperity," McConnell wrote at the time. "The USMCA would also help keep North American partners close while the U.S. hangs tough with China."

Trump addressed the drama during a campaign rally in the swing state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday and claimed Democrats are only supporting USMCA to take the focus off their failed impeachment attempt.

"The silver lining of impeachment and this witch hunt, that's the reason they approved USMCA," he said. “They were very embarrassed by it."

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House Democrats are reportedly planning to hold a vote on USMCA sometime next week.

Original Article