McConnell on Pelosi Holding Impeachment Papers: "I'm Not Anxious To Have This Trial" | Video | RealClearPolitics

McConnell on Pelosi Holding Impeachment Papers: "I'm Not Anxious To Have This Trial"


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is interviewed about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding the articles of impeachment for President Donald Trump in the House.

BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: Let's bring in somebody who is one of most powerful people in the country. He is the author of “The Long Game: A Memoir” now out in paperback with a brand new epilogue from him and a forward from President Trump. It is an excellent book and I read it when it came out. And Senator, you had every reason to take today off, but you're here to tell America that you're still working. And first things first, are you surprised you haven't been handed the two impeachment articles from the speaker?
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Yeah. I mean, believe it or not, the papers have to be physically brought over to the Senate, and we can't go forward until the Speaker does that. She's apparently trying to tell us how to run the trial.
Lisa Boothe: Well --
Mitch McConnell: You know, I'm not anxious to have this trial, so if she wants to hold all the papers, go right ahead.
Lisa Boothe: Well, Senator, why do you think she hasn't?
Mitch McConnell: She apparently believes that she can tell us how to run the trial. Look, what I've been advocating to Senator Schumer is exactly the same way we handled the Clinton impeachment 20 years ago, which he voted for. You listen to the opening arguments, you have a written question period, and at that point in the Clinton trial, we had a decision about which witnesses to call, and as you can imagine, that was a pretty partisan exercise, but we didn't let the partisan part of it keep us from getting started. So all I'm doing is saying --
Griff Jenkins: Right.
Mitch McConnell: What was good enough for President Clinton is good enough for President Trump.
Griff Jenkins: Leader, do you believe that if she doesn't hand them over, do you have the constitutional authority to hold a trial without her handing them over?
Mitch McConnell: I don't think so. I can't imagine what purpose is served by her holding on to the papers. So sooner or later, I'm assuming she's going to send them over.
Lisa Boothe: Well Senator, you mentioned witnesses. What witnesses would you like to call?
Mitch McConnell: Look. Well, what we need to do is to listen to the arguments, have a written questioning period, and then decide whether we need witnesses or not. You know, the House went ahead without witnesses. They didn't pursue any of the witnesses in court when the president did what every president since George Washington has done and exert executive privilege. But the Congress could have done -- the House could have done is to go to court and try to compel the attendance. They didn't do that. They just blew right through that and accused the president of doing something improper by simply invoking executive privilege, which every president has done.

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