Posts tagged with "Majority Leader Mitch McConnell"

Protesters at Senator Lindsey Graham’s house seek to block SCOTUS vote before election

September 22, 2020

Following the September 18 death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s home in Washington, DC, on Monday morning, September 21—waving banners and signs that called him a “two-faced coward” and demanded that he “keep his word”— after he pledged his support for a Senate vote on President Donald Trump’s SCOTUS nominee ahead of the election.

Democrats have condemned the South Carolina senator and other Republicans for flip-flopping on their opposition to filling a Supreme Court vacancy during a presidential election year, The Huffington Post reports.

In 2016, Graham supported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to block Senate consideration of Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

But Graham, who now chairs the key Judiciary Committee, appeared to change his tune following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, saying he would support Trump “in any effort to move forward” in filling her seat.

Trump said on Monday that he’d announce his nomination Friday or Saturday, and that a Senate vote on his nominee should happen before the November 3 election—a move to “steal” another seat that is sure to trigger widespread anger among voters who are not members of his 40% base.

Protesters on Monday showed up to Graham’s townhouse around 6 a.m., where they banged drums, blared air horns, and demanded that he oppose a Supreme Court confirmation vote before Election Day, the HuffPost reported.

“We can’t sleep so neither should Lindsey,” read one sign held by a protester. Other signs in the crowd labeled Graham a “two-faced coward” and a “hypocrite.”

It’s unclear whether Graham was inside the house during the demonstration, which was organized by Shut Down DC and the Washington, DC, chapter of the Sunrise Movement, two groups focused on tackling the climate crisis.

Trump and many of his Republican allies have called for a swift confirmation of his nominee to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg was one of the court’s most liberal judges, making Republicans eager to fill her seat with a conservative. If they succeed, the court will have a 6-3 conservative majority.

Hours after Ginsburg’s death, McConnell said Trump’s nominee would receive a vote on the Senate floor.

When Scalia died in 2016, McConnell blocked Garland from receiving a hearing in the Senate, claiming the winner of the 2016 presidential election should pick the nominee. Scalia died 269 days before the 2016 presidential election. Ginsburg died 46 days before the 2020 presidential election.

Graham stood by McConnell’s decision in 2016, stating at the time that he strongly supports “giving the American people a voice in choosing the next Supreme Court nominee by electing a new president.”

“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said at the time. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’ And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”

Graham reiterated his stance in 2018 during a forum with The Atlantic, stating that “if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election.”

But Graham now seems unfazed by his pledges.

“I fully understand where [Trump] is coming from,” Graham tweeted Saturday in response to the president’s statement that the GOP has an “obligation” to fill the Supreme Court vacancy “without delay.”

About 100 demonstrators protested outside McConnell’s home in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, calling on the Republican leader to allow whoever is elected in November to pick the next Supreme Court nominee.

“I think it’s time to stand up and speak out,” one protester told WLKY. “That’s what Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought her whole life for.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

 

 

 

 

Senate passes Midnight Mitch’s impeachment rules at nearly 2 a.m.

January 23, 2020

The Senate voted along party lines to pass Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s game plan for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the early hours of Wednesday morning—following nearly 13 hours of contentious debate between House prosecutors and attorneys for the White House.

According to a report by NBC News, the Republican majority had voted down several amendments proposed by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that would have required the Senate to subpoena documents and call witnesses.

The vote came just before 2 a.m. Wednesday—after Representative Jerry Nadler (D-New York), one of the House impeachment managers, suggested that senators were voting for a “cover-up;” which drew sharp responses from the president’s legal counsel.

Indeed, the mood in the chamber and the language became so vile that Chief Justice John Roberts admonished House managers and Trump’s counsel “in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Robert said, “I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are.”

Under the terms of the organizing resolution, NBC News said, the House case managers will have 24 hours over three days—up from the 24 hours over two days that McConnell originally had proposed—to make their arguments to remove the president from office on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. Attorneys for the White House likewise will have 24 hours over three days to state their case for acquittal.

Senators will then have 16 hours to submit questions to both sides before they decide whether to call witnesses or subpoena documents.

The plan proposed by the Majority Leader—nicknamed “Midnight Mitch” for his preference for trying the president in a slot later than TV’s prime time—had been opposed by Democrats, who wanted a guarantee that they would be able to call witnesses and demand documents that the administration withheld during the House impeachment inquiry. 202006:28

The vote wasn’t a total loss for Democrats, however. Not only did McConnell change the two-day rule for arguments; but he also rescinded another that could have barred evidence gathered by the House.

Democrats complained that the two-day limit would have meant that they would be making arguments until 1 a.m. or later, depriving much of the public of the chance to watch the proceedings.

The other provision could have barred entering all of the evidence House Democrats gathered against Trump into the Senate record. The evidence now will be admitted automatically unless there’s an objection, rather than depend on a proactive vote to

The House case managers were expected to begin their opening arguments Wednesday afternoon, NBC News said.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Trump on track to become third U.S. president to be impeached

December 18, 2019

President Donald Trump has proven himself to be no match for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On Wednesday, he faced an odds-on impeachment vote in the House, where Democrats enjoy a 36-seat majority, Reuters reported.

In voting for his impeachment, the House would make Trump the third president in U.S. history to be accused of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” as described in the Constitution—and declared guilty by official ballot.

Trump faces one charge of abusing his power by extorting Ukraine to investigate Biden, a leading Democratic contender to oppose him in the 2020 U.S. presidential election; and one of obstructing Congress’ investigation into the matter, Reuters said.

The president has denied wrongdoing and accused Democrats of a baseless and politically-motivated bid to oust him from power.

In a six-page letter delivered to Pelosi on the eve of the impeachment vote, Trump tried to turn the tables on the Democrats: “You are the ones interfering in America’s elections,” he wrote. “You are the ones subverting America’s Democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish, personal political, and partisan gain.”

A majority vote in the House would set the stage for a trial in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already has vowed to follow the lead of the president and the White House counsel.

Republicans hold 53 of the 100 seats in the Senate, where they appear likely to prevail in any trial against Trump, which would require a two-thirds majority of those present to remove him from office, Reuters noted.

Seeking to shape any trial, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called on Sunday for testimony from the Trump aides who allegedly viewed his criminal actions personally: White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton, Mulvaney aide Robert Blair, and OMB official Michael Duffey.

“I hope we can come to an agreement about a fair trial,” Schumer told MSNBC in an interview Chris Hayes.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 23-17 on December 13, along party lines, to approve the two articles of impeachment against Trump and to send the matter to the full chamber. Late on Sunday, the panel issued its full report detailing the case against him.

In a tweet on Monday, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said Schumer’s comments seeking fairness were “laughable” after the release of the 658-page report “in the middle of the night. Thankfully the people of this country continue to see the partisan sham that this is.”

Research contact: @Reuters

Senate Judiciary Committee moves to protect Mueller

April 27, 2018

Just one day after Fox News released findings of a poll that showed that 67% of Americans believe it is at least “somewhat important” that Robert Mueller’s investigation should continue—but that 71% fear that President Donald Trump soon will fire the Special Counsel—the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken steps to ensure that the investigation will be completed.

The New York Times reported on April 26 that the committee had “fired a political warning shot at the White House”—advancing on a bipartisan vote long-stalled legislation to allow special counsels such as Mueller to appeal their firing to a panel of judges and possibly be reinstated.

According to the Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. However, with four Republicans, including the committee’s chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), joining Democrats in favor of the measure, the committee sent a firm directive to the POTUS that the investigation must continue.

Even senators who voted against the legislation warned Trump against ousting Mueller. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said that “firing Mueller would cause a firestorm and bring the administration’s agenda to a halt. It could even result in impeachment.”

Will Trump back off? In an interview with Fox & Friends on April 26, the President said, “I’ve taken the position—and I don’t have to take this position and maybe I’ll change—that I will not be involved with the Justice Department. I will wait until this is over…. I may change my mind at some point.”

Research contact: nicholas.fandos@nytimes.com