Should Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Cover-up” McConnell ever need quantities of whitewash sufficient to paint every barn in his state of Kentucky, he appears to have plenty in stock. The nation watched as McConnell and the GOP squirmed to slather coat after coat of the stuff on the president’s violations of his oath of office.
As if to have neutered themselves, Sen. McConnell and most of his GOP colleagues laid themselves prostrate before the president, their muffled cries of “Please don’t speak ill of me, master,” filtering up from the carpet. Republicans, thus, crowned Donald Trump the first King of America since George III. It was not a surprise. Early on, Sen. McConnell announced his intention to shape the impeachment trial to suit Donald Trump’s fancies, stating plainly that he had no intention of being an impartial juror. And he was true to his word.
I have watched enough episodes of “Matlock” to know that trials generally begin with a lawyer announcing to the jury, “Ladies and gentlemen, the evidence will show ...” where “evidence” means witnesses, documents and exhibits. Apparently that’s not what it means to McConnell, or any other Senate Republican, aside from Mitt Romney of Utah.
McConnell also stifled the press as best he could, evidently convinced that we little people prefer to be blind to which senators are sleeping or reading the Police Gazette. Sadly for America and our Constitution, Mitch McConnell has descended up to his chin in the steaming mire of Donald Trump’s boggy morass, although on the positive side, that places him eye to eye with the other GOP senators.
Early on, every Senate Republican voted against subpoenas of relevant documents from the White House, the State Department, the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Defense. They voted not to call witnesses such as White House Chief Mick Mulvaney, who told reporters that Trump indeed engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukrainian President Zelinsky.
“Get used to it,” Mulvaney had snapped. And the GOP senators voted not to hear from former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, who viewed Trump’s withholding of aid to Ukraine to be so dirty that he likened it to a “drug deal.”
Likewise, they voted not to trouble their ears with testimony by OMB official Robert Blaine, who passed along Trump’s hold on Ukraine’s military aid to the Department of Defense. Impeachment skeptics note that Ukraine eventually got the aid. Indeed it did, two days after the whistleblower’s report reached Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 55 days after the aid had been authorized, days during which nearly two dozen Ukrainian soldiers died in combat with Russians.
There have been Senate impeachment trials of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, as well as of 13 other federal officials, mostly judges. Witnesses were heard in every case. The trial of Donald Trump did not suffer the clutter of facts, thanks to Mitch McConnell and his gang of Senate Republicans. McConnell and the GOP, minus Sen. Romney, placed their party, and their little jobs in Congress, above their country. And in so doing they have rolled the dice on the survival of our republic.