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Mitch McConnell
  U.S. Senate Sen. Mc Connell on Iraq Strike Impeachment  CSPAN  January 3, 2020 3:23pm-3:48pm EST

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policy. >> sunday on real america, the 1985 all-star party for ronald dutch regan. >> we honor the only man from our community who ended up living in public housing. by the way, dutch, you have a lot of friended here tonight the white house press corps who will be served their favorite meal, leak soup. >> and beginning at 5:30, three-part program lacking at the house judiciary committee debate, house floor debate and the senate impeachment trial of president bill clinton. explore in the nation's pass on c-span3. >> today the beginning of the second session of the 116th 116th congress, mitch mcconnell opened the session by talking but the killing of an iranian general in iraq by u.s. forces. he went on to talk at length but the impeachment of president trump. he was followed by a democratic
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counterpart, senator chuck schumer who discussed the same topics. this is 45 minutes. iran's master terrorist is dead. iran's master terrorist is dead. this morning iran's mast ever -- the architecture of the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism has been removed. from the battlefield. at the hand of the united states military. no man alive was more directly responsible for the deaths of more american service members than qassim suleimani. revenuesa. his schemes and his agents killed hundreds of american service members in iraq and
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afghanistan. he personally oversaw the state-sponsored terrorism that iran used to kill our sons and our daughters and as we've seen in recent days and weeks, he and his terrorists posed an ongoing threat to american lives and american interests. soleimani made it his life's work to take the iranian revolutionary call for death to america and death to israel and turn them into action. but this terrorist mastermind was not just a threat to the united states and israel. for more than a decade, he masterminded iran's mall leafs lent and destabilizing work throughout the entire middle east.
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he created, sustained and directed terrorist proxies everywhere from yemen to iraq to syria to lebanon. innocents were killed. these sovereign countries were destabilized. in syria, this leading terrorist and his agents acted as strategists, enablers, and arizona come policers -- and accomplicers to the brutal oppression and the slaughter of the syrian people. the syrian people. >> in iraq his violent expanded return's influence at the sevens of the iraqis themselves. his dark sectarian vision disenfranchised countless sunni arabs and paved the way for the rise of isis. and with isis large large by
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defeated suleimani and hissing as turn their sights on controlling the iraqi people who are rejecting a corrupt government but also iran's influence over that government. and once again, there were iran and its proxies facilitating violence against these peaceful protesters. for too long, for too long, this evil man operated without constraint and count legislation innocents have suffered for it. now his terrorist leadership has been ended. now predictably enough in this political environment, the operation that led to suleimani's death may prove controversial or twicesive.
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although i anticipate and welcome a debate about america's interest in foreign policy in the middle east, i recommend that all senators wait to review the facts and hear from the administration before passing much public judgment. on this operation and it potential consequences. the administration will be briefing staff today on the situation in iraq. we working to arrange a classified briefing for all senators early next week. for my part i have spoken to the secretary of defense and i'm encouraged by the steps the u.s. military is taking to defend american personnel and interests from a growing iranian threat. i speak for the entire senate when i say my prayers are with all american diplomats, personnel and brave service members serving in iraq, and in the middle east.
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i'm grateful for their courageous service to protect our country. right from the outset of the new year it is clear that 2020 will require the senate and our whole nation to redouble our resolve to keep america safe in this troubled world. now, mr. president, i o an an entirely different matter, of course we also anticipate that another totally different, very serious item will be heading the senate's way soon. the senate will have to address some of the deepest institutional questions contemplated by the constitution. we'll have to decide whether we'll safeguard core governing traditions or let short-term partisan rage overcome them. back in december, i explained how house democrats sprint into the most rushed, least fair and
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least thorough impeachment inquiry in american history that jeopardy days the foundation of our system of government. by spring, speaker pelosied to the country impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, don't think we should go down that path. that was the speaker less than a year ago. back in 1998, when democrats were busy defending president clinton, congressman jerry nadler said, must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment substantially sported by one of the major political parties and largely opposed by the other. such an impeachment would lack legitimacy, said congress monger jury nadler 20 years ago. that was obviously standard when the democrat was in the white
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house. but ultimately house democrats cared more about attracting president trump than keeping their promises so they rushed through a slap dash investigation. they decided not to bother with the standard legal processes for pursuing witnesses and evidence. depend have time to do that. chairman adam shift told the entire country on national division that getting court decisions takes a long tile. he didn't want to wait. that's a long time to go to court. plowed head, plowed right ahead. with a historic include weak case, and impeached a do you havely elected president with votes from just one, just one, political party. democrats have let trump derainment sin tremendous
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develop into a kind of dangerous partisan fever that our founding fathers were afraid of. and then mr. president just before the ohio this sat spectacle took another up usual turn. as soon as the partisan immigrant people. votes had finished, the prosecutors began to develop cold feet. instead of sending the articles to senate they flinched. they flipped. -- flinched. that's right. the same people who just spent weeks 'screaming at impeachment was so serious and so urgent that it cooperate wait for due process, now decided it could wait indefendant enoughly while the check the political winds and look for some new talking points. this is yet another situation where the house democrats have blown right past the specific warnings of our founding
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fathers. alexander hamilton, specifically warren about the dangers of a do, quote, procrat nateed determination of the charges. in an impeachment help explained it would not be fair to the accused and be dangerous for the country. speaker pelosi does not care. her congress is behaving exactly like the, quote, intemperate or designing majority in the house of representatives that hamilton warned might abuse the impeachment power. so, as house democrats continue their political delay, they're searching desperately for some new talking points, to help them deflect blame for what they've done. we have heard it claimed that the same house democrats who botched their own process should
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get to reef over here should the senate and dictate our process. we have heard claims it's a problem that i've discussed trial mechanicking with the white house. even as my counterpart, the democratic leaders openly coordinating political strategy with the speaker, who some might call the prosecution. so it's okay to have consultation with the prosecution but not apparently with the defendant. and we heard claims any senators who formed opinions about how democrats irresponsible and unprecedented actions as they played out in the view of the entire nation, should be disqualified from the next phase. obviously mr. president this is nonsense. nonsense. let me clarify. senate rules and senate history for those who may be confused.
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first, about this fantasy, that the speaker of the house will get to hand design the trial proceedings in the senate. that's obviously a nonstarter. what i've consistently said is pretty simple. the structure for this impeachment trial should track with the structure of the clinton trial. we have a precedent here. that means two phase. first, back in 1999 to the senate passioned a unanimous bipartisan resolution, 100-0 that set up the initial logistics like briefs, opening arguments, and senator questions. it stayed silent on mid-trial questions such as witnessed until the trial was actually
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underway. that was approved 100-0. somewhat predict include thing starved to diverse along party lines win we considered the later procedural questions but the initial resolution laying out the first half of the trial was approved 100 to nothing. i believe we should simply repeat that unanimous bipartisan press depth this time as well. that's my position. president trump should get the same treatment that eave single senator gave to president clinton. just like 20 years ago. we should address mid-trial questions such as witnesses after briefs, opening arguments, senator questions, and other relevant motions. fair is fair.
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now, let's discuss these lectures pout how senators should do our jobs. the oath that senators take in impeachment trials to, quote, do impartial justice has never meant that senators should wall themselves off from the biggest news story in the nation and completely ignore what the house has been doing. the oath has never meant that senators check all of their political judgment at the door and strip away all of our independent judgments about what is best for the nation. it has never meant that. and it never could. the framers debated whether to give the power to try impeachments to a court or the
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senate, and decided on the senate precisely because impeachment is not a narrow legal question. impeachment is not a narrow legal question. but a deeply political one as well. hamilton said this explicitly in federalist 65. impeachment requires the senate to address both legal questions pout what has been proved and political questions about what the common good of our nation requires. senators do not cease to be senators just because the house sends us articles of impeachment. our job remains the same. to represent our states. our constituents and our nation's best interests in the great matters of our time. that is our obligation.
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whether we are vote can on legislation, nominations, or the verdict in an impeachment. 20 years ago, i would add, democrats noter all this very well. president trump obviously committed an annual felony. president clinton had actually committed a felony. if democrats actually believed in the narrow since of impar shallity, they have now adopted as a talking point, then every single one of them would have voted to removal president clinton from office. but instead, , a majority of the senate decided that removing president clinton despite his proven and actual crimes would not best serve the nation. mr. president, they made a political judgment.
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zero is zero objections to senators speaking out before the trial. the current democratic leader, senator schumer, was running for the senate during the house impeachment process back in 1998. the voted against the articles both in the house judiciary committee and on the house floor. and in a major part of his senate campaign that year -- listen to this -- was literally promising new yorkers in advance, in advance, that he would vote to acquit president clinton. people ask if it was appropriate to him to prejudge like that.
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he dismissed the question, saying, quote, this is not a criminal trial. but something the founding fathers decided to put in a body that was susceptible to the whims of politics. that was the democratic leader in the '98 senate campaign. that was a newly sworn in senator schumer 1999. a few weeks later during the trial itself, democratic senator tom harken object it to the use of the word "jurors" to describe senators to because the install to a narrow legal proceeding was to inappropriate according to senator hark '. so, look, mr. president, i respect our friends across the aisle. but it appears that one symptom
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of trump derangement sin tremendous is also a pad case of amnesia and no member of this body needs conde sent can argument on fairness from house democrats who rushed through the most unfair impeachment in modern history or lectures on impartiality from senator monday happily prejudged the case of president clinton and changed the standards to suit the political whims. anyone who in thes american history or understands the constitution knows a senator's role in an impeachment trial is nothing, nothing like the job of jurors in the legal system. the very thing that make the senate the right forum to settle
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impeachment would disqualify all of news an ordinary trial. of us us would be disqualified in an order trial. like many americans, senators have paid great attention to the facts. and the arguments. that house democrats have rolled out publicly before the nation. many of us personally know the parties involve on both sides. look, this is a political body. we do not stand apart on the issues of the day. it is our job to be deeply engaged in those issues. but -- this is critical -- the senate is unique by design. the framers built the senate to provide a check against short-termism, the runaway passions, and the demon of
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faction that hamilton warned would extend this sceptor over the house of representatives weapon exist because the founder wanted an institution that could momentary history yas and partisan passions from damaging our republic. an institution that could be thoughtful, be sober, and take the long view, and that is why the constitution puts the impeachment trial in this place. not because senators should pretend their unfirefighter, unopinionated or disinterested in the long-term political questions that an impeachment tv the president poses but precisely because we are informed, we are opinionated and
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we can take up these weighty questions. that is the meaning of the oath we take. . that is the task that lies before us. impartial justice means making up our minds on the right basis. it means putting aside pure hi re flexsive partisanship and putting aside personal relationshipsshipsships and ani. it means coolly considering the facts the house has presented and then rendering the verdict we believe is best for our states, our constitution, and our way of life. it means seeing clearly, not what some might wish the house of representatives had proven but what they actually have or have not proven. it means looking past a single
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news cycle to see how overturning an election would reverberate for generations. so, look, you better believe senators have started forming opinions but a these critical questions over the last weeks and months. we sure have. especially in light of the precedent-breaking theatrics that house democrats chose to engage in. but here's where we are, mr. president. their turn is over. they've done enough damage. it's the senate's turn now to render sober judgment as the framers envision. but we can't hold a trial without the articles. the senate's own rules don't provide for that. so for now, we're content to continue the ordinary business of the senate while house
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democrats continue to flounder for now. but if they of muster the courage to stand behind the slap dash work product and transmit their articles to the senate, it will then be time for the united states senate to fulfill our founding purpose. >> last night, the united states conducted a military operation designed to kill major general qasim suleimani, a notorious terrorist. no one should shed a tear over his death. the operation against suleimani in iraq was conducted, however, without specific authorization and any advance notification or consultation with congress. i'm a member of the gang of eight, which is typically briefed in advance of operations of this level of s