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Judiciary Democrat Says McConnell Must Recuse Himself From Senate Impeachment Trial

Recent comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week are incongruent with an eventual oath he’ll be taking regarding the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, a member of the House Judiciary Committee said on Friday.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images; Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Rep. Val Demings, who is also a member of the Intelligence Committee, said that McConnell’s impartiality and clear intent to acquit Trump in the Senate trial before hearing any evidence renders him unfit to be a part of it.

“The President has abused his power and obstructed Congress’ ability to hold him accountable for his actions,” Demings pointed out in a press release from her office. “His use of military assistance to pressure another country to interfere in our election put our national security and our democracy at risk.”

The congresswoman also called out McConnell for comments he recently made during an interview on Fox News’ Hannity program, in which the senator made clear he was working with the White House on the matter of impeachment.

“Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with White House counsel,” McConnell said. “There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.”

McConnell added that there is “no chance the president’s going to be removed from office.”

Demings said those words from McConnell made it necessary for him to remove himself from the trial.

“Senator McConnell has promised to sabotage that trial and he must recuse himself,” Demings said. “No court in the country would allow a member of the jury to also serve as the accused’s defense attorney.”

Demings makes a very strong argument about McConnell’s comments and his involvement in the Senate impeachment trial.

According to the U.S. Constitution, Senators must be administered an “oath or affirmation” before taking part in an impeachment trial. Traditionally, that oath has read as follows:

  • I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of __________, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.

Neither the Constitution nor the oath cited above provide any consequence or punishment, however, for any senator that breaks the promise to be impartial during the impeachment trial.



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