Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised Thursday night that Republicans will remain in lockstep with the White House on messaging strategy once impeachment proceedings reach the senate.
“Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this,” the Kentucky Republican said.
McConnell met privately with White House counsel Pat Cipollone on Thursday to dicuss the next phase of the impeachment process.
The House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachent, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, againt President Trump on Friday and Democrats are expected to pass them in a full House vote next week. The articles will then be sent to the Senate for a trial to take place after Congress returns from Christmas break.
McConnell said he has no choice but to take up impeachment but plans to be in “total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president in the well of the Senate.”
“The president’s counsel may or may not decide they want to have witnesses. The case is so darn weak coming over from the House,” McConnell added. “I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers. But yes, if you know you have the votes, you’ve listened to the arguments on both sides and believe the case is so slim, so weak that you have the votes to end it, that might be what the president’s lawyers would prefer.”
McConnell’s pledge drew harsh criticism from Democrats, who compared the Senate leader’s cooperation with the president’s team to a jury being in cahoots with a defendant.
“In other words, the jury — Senate Republicans — are going to coordinate with the defendant — Donald Trump — on how exactly the kangaroo court is going to be run,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat.