Exclusive — Sean Spicer on Senate ‘Kill Switch’ in Impeachment Trial Rules: ‘I Think It’s Brilliant’

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer answers questions during an appearance at t
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Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer told Breitbart News on Sunday evening that he thinks Republican senators’ decision to include a “kill switch” in the impeachment trial rules is “brilliant.”

On Sunday, Breitbart News and other outlets reported on the mechanism that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has built into the Senate impeachment trial rules that allows the president’s legal team to call for an immediate vote for dismissal or summary judgment at any time should the Democrats engage in shenanigans like they did in the House. When the House, which is controlled by Democrats, rammed through the highly partisan impeachment of President Donald Trump, the process was slammed by all sides as unfair and rigged, as it was done largely in secret with hardly any due process rights for the president whose attorneys were barred from many of the proceedings. The Senate, as evidenced by this kill switch’s inclusion in the rules, will not allow such partisan gamesmanship and if House Democrat “impeachment managers,” such as Intelligence chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) or Judiciary chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) try anything untoward, the whole thing can get shut down quickly.

“I think it’s brilliant,” Spicer said on Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel on Sunday night. “I saw it up on Breitbart earlier today. You guys had a big story on this whole kill switch. What it does is it’s not just a mechanism, right, but it’s also a reminder to the Democrats where if you want to play games, if you want to make this a show, we have the ability to call it up right away and dismiss it. We are going to take this seriously on our side. We’re not going to hand out gold pens and have a signing ceremony with a picture suitable for framing—which is what the House side did. I think this is an attempt to be serious and show that we’re taking this process very, very seriously, but at the same time, if you—the Democrats—try to make this into a partisan show, then we have the ability to make it very clear we can call it up right away, this kill switch. We can say, ‘Okay, let’s vote and get this thing over with.’ Then you put your cards on the table.”

Spicer added that he believes this demonstrates that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a much more effective tactician than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“One other thing: I’ve always believed from a tactician’s standpoint that one of the best things the president has going for him is McConnell,” Spicer said. “McConnell from a tactician’s standpoint is probably the greatest tactician in the U.S. Senate in modern history. He understands the rules better than everybody else. So this idea, I loved it earlier in the process when Nancy Pelosi was talking about trying to gain leverage. I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? You’re going to gain leverage from McConnell? He knows the Senate better than everybody.’ And he proved her wrong. He held out and said, ‘Fine.’ This is another example of McConnell taking the upper hand.”

Spicer added that Pelosi has failed in many respects, and her attempts to claim victory after getting nothing from holding back transmission of the House-adopted articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate for a month are laughable.

“The other day, she tried to claim victory, and that’s ridiculous,” Spicer said. “But the bigger point is that McConnell has let them know. I think anyone with the Internet saw the Breitbart article today, and McConnell is like, ‘I’m going to let you guys take this process seriously and solemnly, but if you abuse it and try to take it out of bounds and go overtly political, then we’re going to pull the kill switch, so to speak, as it’s been called and referenced, and, basically, call the vote and say, “All right, your games are done. Let’s make people go on record.”‘ I think Republicans have shown they’re going to treat this in the constitutional solemn nature that it was intended to be and Democrats — I’m just watching some of the Sunday shows and catching some of the clips today — are clearly using this as a partisan weapon. It’s interesting because the Democrats have the media on their side, and it was interesting watching this idea and this narrative formulate over the last few days that definitely exacerbated today on the Sunday shows, which is that if you are a good and solemn and caring and loving person in this country, well, then you’re going to vote for impeachment, but if you don’t go along with it, then you’re in the pocket of Donald Trump. It’s amazing to me how the cake has been baked to say if you support, if you’re willing to listen to the testimony but you don’t come to the Democrats’ conclusion, then somehow, you’re on the side of Trump, and if you come to the conclusion that Pelosi and the Democrats are right, then you’re somehow a good person. The media has already helped shape the landscape for the Democrats. This is why McConnell, I think, has called their bluff and said, ‘I don’t really care; I’m just going to pull this trigger and call a vote if you guys step over the line.’”

McConnell, meanwhile, is going to have an actually fair process unlike the mess in the House, Spicer said.

“As I said from the beginning, if there’s one friend you want in the United States Senate right now, it’s Mitch McConnell,” Spicer said. “He understands the process, the tactics, the strategy better than anybody else. He doesn’t put up with it. He’s not out there trying to get headlines or get his face in the paper like Schiff and Pelosi and Nadler do. He’s a behind-the-scenes tactician. He has Trump’s back right now, and he wants to make sure we win this election results-based. He wants to talk about the economy, what we’ve done for veterans, our national security. McConnell understands politics is about how people feel and whether they know things are better in this country for themselves, their families, their businesses, and the country overall. Right now, the more he can contrast that with the Democrats’ only agenda being on point of attack and investigation and impeachment, the better it bodes for him as he faces reelection but also the entire Republican team in the Senate and the House. So, look, I think what’s happened in this debate is the Democrats overplayed their hand. As somebody who’s been in politics for the last 25 plus years, generally speaking, if we’re going to be honest, it’s the Republicans who overplay our hands too much—we jump the shark, or whatever you want to call it—but this time, it was the Democrats. They thought they had a winning hand with impeachment, but what you’re finding is, number one, it’s solidifying Trump’s base, but, number two, there’s a lot of folks who might not have been with Trump, but they’re saying, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. The lengths to which you all on the left are going to remove this guy from office has gone a little bit too far.’ We have an election; if you’re not for Trump, then vote against him in the election. The degree to which they’re using this as a political tool has really gone way too far in a lot of people’s minds.”

Spicer added that the vote in the House to impeach Trump was purely partisan—the first time in history that an impeachment was purely partisan, with only Democrats voting for it—but also, there was bipartisan opposition to both articles of impeachment.

“It was bipartisan. It was bipartisan against. That was the funny thing—Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff—everyone set up this predicate that it had to be bipartisan,” Spicer said. “And it was. It was bipartisan against them, and that gets to your point about how not only was this partisan for impeachment, but you had bipartisan against impeachment. The other thing I find fascinating is they keep talking about this is the third impeachment or whatever. We’ve had three, and we’ve only had one other in modern history, meaning Clinton, and beyond that, the idea of there being this massive precedent is a little exaggerated.”

Spicer added that he thinks it is possible that one or a few Senate Democrats join Senate Republicans in voting to acquit President Trump, making the Senate opposition to this sham bipartisan as well, with only partisan support in favor of it. He specifically pointed to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) as possible Democrat votes to acquit Trump.

“I would probably go with a Doug Jones down in Alabama or a Joe Manchin up in West Virginia, but I think you’re right: Sinema has got to figure out what her deal is out in Arizona. I would feel less confident in her than I would in the first two. But I think you’re right: one of those three is likely to vote against a removal, which gets to your point. In the House and in the Senate, you will have a bipartisan effort against this entire thing, not for it. That speaks volumes. That’s why I think the Democrats are going to have a hard time getting out of this, which is okay. You initiated something in the House, and you laid the predicate that in order to go forward, it needs to be one of the following: one of which they needed to proceed was that it would be bipartisan. Well, it wasn’t in your favor. It was bipartisan against you in the House, and then it goes over to the Senate, and it will be bipartisan against there, too. I think when that happens, that’s the way that history will judge this, which is it was a purely political act, as opposed to something done based on some violation of the Constitution.”



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