tv U.S. Senate Sen. Mc Connell on Impeachment CSPAN February 4, 2020 5:39pm-5:55pm EST
of the joint session, the senate adjourn until 9:30 a.m. wednesday, february 5, finally, following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. the presiding officer: without objection. the presiding officer: the senate stands in recess untiln a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, these past weeks, the senate has these past weeks, the senate has mr. president these past weeks the senate has grappled with the grave subject as we have ever considered a requester majority of the house to remove the president. the framers took impeachment extremely seriously.
they had no illusions that these trials will always begin for the right reasons. alexander hamilton warned the demon affection would o extend s scepter over the house of representatives at certain seasons. he warned an intemperate or deciding majority in then house might misuse impeachment as a weapon of ordinary politics ratherra than an emergency toolf last resort. the framers knew impeachment might begin with overheated passions and short-term facts. but they knew those things would not get the final setting so they placed the ultimate judgment not on the fractious lower chamber but in the sober and fable senate. they wanted impeachment trials to be fair on both sides. they wanted them to be timely
avoiding it procrastinated determination of the charges. they wanted us to take a deep breath and decide which outcome would reflect the fact, protect their institutions and advance the common good. they called the senate quote the most fit depository at this important trust. we will know tomorrow whether that trust was well-placed. the drive to impeach president trump did not begin with the allegations before us. there was reporting in april of 2016, this is before the president with the nominee. donald trump isn't even their public a nominee yet but impeachment is already on the list of pundits newspaper editorials constitutional scholars and even a few members of congress. here was the "washington post"
minutes after president trump's inauguration but the campaign to impeach president trump has begun the "washington post" said the articles of impeachment before us were not even the first ones one's house democrats introduced. this was a go-round number. this was a go-round number of roughly seven. those previously alleged misdemeanors mr. president included things like being impolite to the press and national athletes. it insults the intelligence of the american people to pretend this is a solemn process reluctantly begun because of withheld foreign aid. no, washington democrats position has been clear literally for years. their positionas was obvious whn theyel openly rooted for the mueller investigation to tear the country apart and were
disappointed, disappointed when the facts proved otherwise. it was obvious when they sought to impeach the president over and over. here's the real position mr. president. washington democrats think president donald trump committed a high crime or misdemeanor the moment, the moment he defeated hillary clinton in the 2016 election. that is the original sin of this presidency that he wanted they lost. ever since the nation has suffered through a grinding campaign against our norms and institutions from the same people who keep shouting that our norms and institutions need defending. a campaign to degrade our democracy that the legitimate side -- d legitimatize their elections from the same people who said it must be paramount.
we watched american political party adopt the following absurd proposition. we thank this president is a bowl and aer china shop so we ae going to. drive a bulldozer through the china shop to get rid of him. this fever led to the most rushed least thorough presidential impeachment inquiry in american history. the housing cree under president nixon spent many months as special prosecutor's investigation said that many more months. with president clinton the independent counsel worked literally for years. it takes time to find facts and it takes time to litigate executive privilege. litigating privilege questions as a normal step and investigations of both parties
understood it was their responsibility but this time no lengthy investigation, no serious inquiry. the house abandoned its own subpoenas they had an arbitrary political deadline to meet. they had to impeach by christmas they had to impeach by christmas so in december house democrats realized the framers night where apparently partisan majority approved two p articles of impeachment over bipartisan opposition. after theed speaker of the house delayed for a month in a futile effort to dig hate the senate process two senators the article finally arrived over here in the senate. over the course of the trial senators have heard sworn video testimony from 13 witnesses over 193 video eclipse. we have entered more m than 28
thousand pages of documents into evidence including including 17 depositions and their members asked 180 questions. in contrast to the house proceedings our trial gave both sides a fair platform. our process tracks with a structure that senators adopt the for the clinton trial 20 years ago. democrats such as the current democratic leader and then senator joe biden argued at length in 1999 we recognize that senate traditions have posed no obligation, no obligation to hear new live witness testimony. it is i not necessary to decide the case. if it is not necessary to decide the case. let me emphasize the house managers themselves said over and over that additional necessary to prove their case.
they claimed dozens of times that their case was quote overwhelming and incontrovertible. that was the house managers saying their evidence was overwhelming and incontrovertible. at the same time they were arguingbu. in reality both of the house accusations are constitutionally incoherent. the obstruction of congress charge is absurd and dangerous. house democrats argued that anytime the speaker speaker invokes the house sole power of impeachment the president must do whatever the house demands. no questions asked. invoking executive branch privileges in response to how subpoenas becomes an impeachable offense at trial. here's how chairmanship put it back in october quote any
action, any action that forces us toga litigate after consider litigation will be evidence of his -- obstruction of justice. that mr. president is nonsense impeachment. that is nonsense. impeachment is not some magical constitutional trump card that melts away the separation between the branches of government. the framers did not leave a constitutional steamroller that anyone somehow overlooked for 20030 years. when congress subpoenas the executive branch officials with questions of privilege the two sides either reach an accommodation or they go to court. that's the way it works. so can you imagine if the shoe were on the other foot? how would democrats and the press have responded if house
republicans had told president obama we don't want to litigate our subpoenas over fast and furious so if you set foot in court we will just impeach you. we will just impeach you. of course that's not what happened. the republican house litigated its subpoenas for years intella prevailed. so much for obstruction of congress. then the abusive power charges just as unpersuasive and dangerous. the democrats gave in to temptation that every previous house has resisted. they impeached a president without even alleging a crime known to our laws. mr. president i do not subscribe to the legal period of impeachment requires a violation of the criminal statutes.
there are powerful reasons why for 230 years every presidentiaa criminal violation. the framers expressed explicitly rejected impeachment for mal administration, general charge under english law that basically encompasses bad management, general fotis no-confidence except in the most extreme circumstances except for overwhelmingly shocked the conscience the framers decided presidents must serve at this pleasure of the electorate and not at the pleasure of the house majority. as hamilton wrote it is one thing to be subordinate to the laws and another to be depended, depended on the legislative body so house democrats sailed into the new and dangerous waters,
the first impeachment unbound by criminal law and needed to take this radicals depth of the country the most painstaking process for the most rigorous investigations, the most bipartisan effort. instead we got the opposite. the exact opposite. the house managers argued that the president could not have been acting in the national interest because he acted inconsistently with their own inception of the national interest. let me say it again. the house managers argued the president could not have been acting in the national -- because they acted in the national interest shared by in subordinates as well. this does not even approach a case where the first presidential removal in american history. it doesn't even approach it.
such an act cannot rest alone on an exercise of the constitutional power combined with concerns about whether the president's motivations for public or personal and the disagreement over whether the exercise of power was in the national interest. the framers gave our nation an ultimate tool for evaluating the president's c character and poly decisions. they are called elections. they are called elections. if washington democrats have a case to make against the presidents re-election they should make it. let themo try to do what they fail to do three years ago. on americans vision for their country but i can certainly see why giving president comes remarkable achievements over the past three years democrats might feel a bit uneasy about
defeating him at the ballot box. but they don't get to rip the choice away from the voters just because they are afraid about losing it. they don't have too strike presidents name on the ballot because as one democrat put a quote i'm concerned that if we don't impeach him he will get reelected. impeachment power exists for a reason. it is invoking it on the partisan whim settles all three political scores and does not honor the framers designed. it insults the framers designed. frankly it's hard to believe that house democrats ever felt this reckless and precedent breaking process would yield 67 votes to cross the rubicon.
was there vision so crowded bipartisanship that they really believed, they really believe this would be anywhere near first for the presidential removal in american history or was success beside the point? was a solid effort to hijack or institutions for a month-long political rally? either way mr. president it has been on full display. now it is time f for him, the demon, to exit the stage. we have indeed witnessed an abuse of power, a grave abuse of power by just the kind of house majority that the framers warned us about. so tomorrow, tomorrow the senate must do what we were created to do. we have done our duty.
we have considered all the arguments. we have studied the, quote mountain of evidence end quote and tomorrow we will vote. we must vote to reject the house abuse of power, vote to protect their institutions, vote to reject a new p presidents that would reduce the design to revel. vote to keep factional. i urge everyone for college to cast a vote on the facts the evidence the constitution and the common good thatmo clearly required both to acquit the president of these charges. >> mr. president the majority leader can come on the floor in repeat his talking points but there are some salient points that are irrefutable. the firstre is the first impeachment trial of the