Washington (AFP) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell strongly condemned the impeachment of President Donald Trump by House Democrats on Thursday and said it was now up to the Republican-led Senate to “put this right.”
McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor, said the House of Representatives had conducted the “most rushed, least thorough and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.”
“This is by far the thinnest basis for any House-passed presidential impeachment in American history,” he said. “A political faction in the House of Representatives has succumbed to a partisan rage.”
Trump was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Wednesday in the Democratic-controlled House, setting up a Senate trial, likely next month, on removing him from office.
Republicans hold a 53 to 47 seat edge in the Senate and McConnell said there could only be one outcome to a trial.
“The Senate must put this right,” the Republican senator from Kentucky said.
“There is only one outcome that is suited to the paucity of evidence, the failed inquiry, the slapdash case,” he said. “Only one outcome suited to the fact that the accusations themselves are constitutionally incoherent.
“The Senate’s duty is clear,” McConnell said. “When the time comes, we must fulfill it.”
Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic minority leader, took issue with McConnell’s remarks and used his own words against him.
“Leader McConnell is plotting the most rushed, least thorough and most unfair impeachment trial in modern history,” Schumer said.
He said McConnell was preventing the Democrats from calling witnesses.
“The witnesses we suggest are top Trump-appointed officials,” Schumer said. “They aren’t Democrats.
“We don’t know if their testimony would exculpate the president or incriminate him but their testimony should be heard,” he said.
“Our goal in the Senate above all should be to conduct a fair and speedy trial,” the Democratic senator from New York said.