F*ck Mitch McConnell, In Case We Haven't Said That Since Sunday
After seven Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting Donald Trump guilty of causing a terrorist attack against America on American soil, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got up to speak. Days after the Senate had voted to affirm that all the Constitution really says about impeachment is that impeachment is whatever the hell 67 senators say it is, therefore it is just fine to convict a man who is now technically the former president and bar him from ever holding office again, McConnell explained in eloquent terms why Trump was guilty. He was so eloquent, in fact, he might as well have been copying from Delegate Stacey Plaskett's paper, like a common Melania doing a cover version of Michelle Obama's latest single.
You'd have thought McConnell was one of the Republicans who had just voted "guilty." Unfortunately, he explained, he was unable to vote "guilty," because reasons. Even though the Senate had already determined the trial was constitutional, he had consulted the tiny constitutional scholars who live in the front flap of his tighty whities, and they just were pretty sure if you impeach and convict somebody who is no longer technically president, what's to stop you from impeaching and convicting literally anyone?
It wasn't that McConnell didn't want Trump held accountable, he said. Far from it! He just wanted somebody else to do it. "We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one." Arrest the motherfucker! Sue him out of existence! We'll see if McConnell is still so enthusiastic about that when Fulton County, Georgia, DA Fani Willis or New York AG Letitia James or whoever else (line starts here!) comes a-calling.
McConnell is back with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, explaining that his "not guilty" vote didn't mean he thinks Donald Trump is "not guilty," he just loves the Constitution too much to do anything about it. He begins much as he began on the Senate floor, blaming Trump squarely for what happened January 6:
There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility. His supporters stormed the Capitol because of the unhinged falsehoods he shouted into the world's largest megaphone. His behavior during and after the chaos was also unconscionable, from attacking Vice President Mike Pence during the riot to praising the criminals after it ended.
But this time he quickly pivots, still trying to split this baby between his VERY LEGIT GRRR ARGH condemnations of Trump, and his stated love for the Constitution what restraineth him:
Our job wasn't to find some way, any way, to inflict a punishment. The Senate's first and foundational duty was to protect the Constitution.
Some brilliant scholars believe the Senate can try and convict former officers. Others don't. The text is unclear, and I don't begrudge my colleagues their own conclusions. But after intense study, I concluded that Article II, Section 4 limits impeachment and conviction to current officers.
But what about what House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin referred to as a "January exception," how McConnell's shitty interpretation creates an exemption wherein the president can't be held accountable constitutionally if he commits high crimes and misdemeanors (which we're pretty sure includes inciting literal actual domestic terrorist attacks) too close to the end of his presidency? Well, again, McConnell says, that's no big deal, because you can just arrest the motherfucker or sue him out of existence.
This doesn't mean leaving office provides immunity from accountability. Former officials are "still liable to be tried and punished in the ordinary tribunals of justice." Criminal law and civil litigation ensure there is no so-called January exemption.
But what about how McConnell refused to bring the Senate back early to do its constitutional duty, and therefore the trial couldn't possibly start until mere hours before President Biden's inauguration? How is this not Mitch McConnell BEING FUCKING MITCH MCCONNELL AGAIN, creating a crisis and then blaming everybody else for what Mitch McConnell hath wrought? Well, you see!
The salient date is not the trial's start but the end, when the penalty of removal from office must be possible. No remotely fair or regular Senate process could have started and finished in less than one week. Even the brisk impeachment process we just concluded took 19 days. The pretrial briefing period alone—especially vital after such a rushed and minimal House process—consumed more than a week. [...]
Here's what the scheduling critics are really saying: Senate Republicans should have followed a rushed House process with a light-speed Senate sham. They think we should have shredded due process and ignited a constitutional crisis in a footrace to outrun our loss of jurisdiction.
Mitch McConnell simply couldn't have stopped Mitch McConnell from doing what Mitch McConnell did.
So it's the Constitution's fault, and it's the calendar's fault, and it not Mitch McConnell's fault. Anybody else's fault? Oh yes, that would be the Democrats:
This selective disregard for rules and norms is a civic disease that is spreading through the political left. Senate Democrats relished the legislative filibuster and used it frequently when they were the minority party. Now only two of them pledge to respect it. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has threatened Supreme Court justices by name, and other Democrats submitted a brief demanding the court rule their way or be "restructured."
Yes, this is the same Mitch McConnell who, when Antonin Scalia got pillow-smothered to death by natural causes NINE MONTHS before a presidential election, decided President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee wouldn't even get a hearing, then four years later, with a month to go and Trump's landslide loss all but etched in stone, decided a "Handmaid's Tale" stunt double deserved Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the Supreme Court. He just hates all this disregarding of rule and norms. Why, those Democrats might even use the rules of the Constitution — the same one that says impeachment is whatever 67 senators say it is — to restructure the Supreme Court! How dare Democrats violate the Constitution by using its text for its intended purpose?
Fuck this guy, in case we've never said that before.
Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE!
Wonkette is ad-free and funded ENTIRELY by YOU. Be the change you want to see in the world! Thank you we love you!