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Democratic Representative Calls on McConnell to Recuse Himself and Threatens Mistrial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters in Washington, January 30, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Representative Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) has called on Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to recuse himself from the impending impeachment trial over his admission that he would not be an “impartial juror” and his claim that the trial was politically motivated.

“I’m not an impartial juror,” McConnell told CNN on Tuesday. “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.”

Speier responded by arguing that McConnell’s statement should disqualify him from participating in the impeachment trial.

“I think we’re going to have to call a mistrial before it even gets over to the Senate,” Speier said on CNN. “My understanding is that each of the senators is going to have to take an oath that they will independently evaluate the evidence for impeachment. . . . It sounds like there’s no interest in doing that whatsoever, and I would think Mitch McConnell should recuse himself.”

The House is expected to approve two articles of impeachment against President Trump this week, one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of Congress.

McConnell is currently under pressure from both Democrats and Republicans to set parameters for an expected impeachment trial in the Senate that will please both sides. On Tuesday, McConnell slammed minority leader Chuck Schumer’s (D., N.Y.) proposal to determine which witnesses to call for testimony in the same document that will set rules for impeachment hearings.

“It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to ‘guilty,’” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury, to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it.”

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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