tv U.S. Senate Sen. Mc Connell on Iraq Strike Impeachment CSPAN January 3, 2020 6:59pm-7:23pm EST
i'm like them, i've actually experienced it myself. like i've actually been there. >> which a special airing a book to be this holiday weekend every weekend. on "c-span2". today marked the beginning of the second session of the 116 congress. the majority leader mitch mcconnell, over the session by talking about the killing of an iranian general in iraq by u.s. forces. it went on to talk at length about the impeachment of president trump. he was followed by a democratic counterpart senator chuck schumer who will discuss the same topic. this is about 45 minutes. >> this morning, runs master terrorist, is dead. the architect and chief engine engineer, the world news most active state sponsor of terrorism, has been removed. from the battlefield and the hand of the united states
military. no man alive, was more directly responsible for the death of more american service members in the sky. the leader of the course, within ran, islamic, revolutionary guard. . . . to kill our sons and our daughters. as we've been saying in the recent days and weeks, he and his terrorists oppose an ongoing threat to american lives and american interest.
soleimani made it his life's work to make it his life's work to be death to america. and death to israel. and turn them into action. but this terrorist mastermind it was not just a threat to the united states and israel, but for more than a decade he masterminded iran's destabilizing work throughout the entire middle east. he created, sustained, and directed terrorists all the way 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 accomplices to the brewed
brutal repression and the slaughter of the syrian people. and iraq, his violence expanded and had influence at the expense of the iraqis themselves. his dark sectarian vision, disenfranchised countless arabs and pave the way for the rise of isis. and with isis largely defeated , soleimani turned their sights on controlling iraqi people. who through massive protests are rejecting not only a corrupted government, but also iran's influence over that government. and once again, there were i ran, and its proxies facilitating violence against these peaceful protesters. for too long, for too long,
this evil man operated without constraints and countless innocents have suffered for it. now his terrorist leadership has been ended. now, predictably enough in this political environments, the operation that led to soleimani's death may have controversy. although i anticipate, and welcome a debate about americans interest in foreign policy in the middle east. i recommend that all senators wait to review the facts and nhear from the administration before passing much public judgment on this operation and its potential consequences. the administration will be briefing staff today on the situation and iraq.k.
there'll be a classified briefing for senators early next week. from my part i've spoken to secretary of defense, and i am encouraged by the steps the u.s. military iser taking to safeguard our personnel from threats. 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. i am grateful for their courageous service to protect our country. but from the outset of this new year it is already clear that 2020 will require the senate and our whole nation to double our resolve to keep america safe. w, keep us safe in this troubled world. r,w mr. president, on an entirely different matter, of course we also anticipate that a nether totally different serious item will be headed to
the senate soon. the senate will have to address some of the deepest institutional questions contemplated by our constitution. we will have to decide whether we are going to safeguard core rmgoverning traditions or let short-term partisan rage overcome them. back in december, i explained how house democrats prints into the most rushed, at least fair, and least thorough impeachment inquiry in american history. this has jeopardize the foundations of our system of government. last spring, speaker pelosi told the country quotes impeachment is so divisive to therw country that unless there is something so compelling and overwhelming, and bipartisan, i 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 clinton, jerry nadler said, there must never be a narrowly led impeachment, or an impeachment substantially supported by one of our middle major political parties and that is opposed by the other. such an impeachment would lack legitimacy he said. congressman jerry nadler said 20 years ago. that was obviously a standard when democrat was in the white house.prru but ultimately, house democrats and cared more about attacking president trump and keeping their promises. so they rushed through a slapdash investigation. they decided not to bother with the standard legal processes for pursuing witnesses and a evidence. they did not have time to do
that. chairman adam schiff told the entire country on national television that getting court decision takes a long time. he did not want to wait. that's a long time to go to court. so he just plowed ahead. plowed right ahead. historically weak case, and they- impeached a duly elected president with just one political party. democrats have left trumped arrangement syndrome turn into a dangerous partisan fever that our founding fathers were afraid of. and then mr. president, just before the holidays the sad spectacle, took another unusual turn. as soon as the partisan impeachment votes happens, the prosecutors again, develops cold feet. instead of sending the articles to the senate, they flinched.
they flinched. that's right, the same people who had just spent weeks screaming that impeachment was so serious and so urgent, that it could not wait for due process. now decided they could wait and definitely will they checked the political winds and look for new talking points. this is yet another situation with a house democrats have blown right past the specific warnings of our founding fathers. alexander hamilton, specifically warned about the dangers of a quote procrastinated, determination of theio charges. in an impeachment. he explained it would not be fair to the accused and it would be dangerous for the country. spencer pelosi apparently does not care. they are behaving exactly like
the quote designing and that house of representatives that hamilton warned might imbues the impeachment power. so, there is house democrats continue their political delay, they're searching desperately for some new talking points to help them deflect blame on what theysa have done. we have heard it claims that the same house democrats who botch their own process, should get to reach over here into the senate and dictate our process. we've heard claims that it is a problem that i have discussed child mechanics with the white house. even as my counterpart the democratic leader is overly coordinating political strategy of the speaker, some might call the prosecution. so it's okay to have consultation with the
prosecution, but not apparently with the defender. we've heard claims that any senators who have formed an opinion about house 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. i'll do that for those who may be confused. first, about this fantasy that the speaker of the house will get to hand design the trial proceedings in the senates, that's obviously a nonstarter. what i have consistently said is very simple. the structure for this impeachment trial should track with the structure of the clinton trial. we have a precedent here.
that means two phases. first, back in 1999 the senate passed a unanimous bipartisan resolution, 100 to nothing. it set up the initial logistics like briefs, opening arguments, and senator questions. it states solid on mid- trial question such as witnesses until the trial was actually underway. that was approved 100 to nothing. d somewhat predictably, then started to divert along party lines will be considered those 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 precedent as well.
that's my position, president trump should get the same treatment that every single one has had on the planet. just like 20 years ago, we should address mid- trial question such as witnesses after briefs, opening nsguments, senator questions, and other relevant motions. fair is fair. now, let's discuss these lectures of how senators should do our jobs. the oath that senators take at impeachment trials to quote do impartial justice according to the constitution and laws", has never been to that senators should wall themselves off from the biggest news story in the nation and completely ignoreg. what the house is been doing.
the oath never meant this 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 trial impeachment to a court or to the senates. and decided on the senate precisely because impeachment is not a narrow, legal question. impeachment is not a narrow legal question. but it is a deeply political one as well. hamilton said this explicitly in 65. impeachment requires the senate to address both legal about what needs to improve
and political about the common good that is required. 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 interest in the great matters of our time. that is our obligation. whether we are voting on legislation, nominations, or the verdict in an impeachment. twenty years ago i would add, democrats understood all of this very well. president clinton had obviously committed an actual felony. president clinton had actually committed a felony. if democrats actually believed in the narrow sense of
impartiality, they've now adopted as a talking., than every single one of them would have voted to remove president clinton from office. oh no, 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. and by the way, back then, leading democrats had zero, zero objections to senators speaking out before the trial. the current democratic leader senator schumer, was running for the senate. during the houtz impeachment process back in 1998. he voted against the articles
both in the judiciary committee and on the floor. 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 quit president clinton. people ask if it was appropriate for him to prejudge like that. 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 endemic craddick leader in the senate campaign. that was a newly sworn in senator schumer in 1999. a few weeks later, during the
trial itself, democratic senator tom harkin successfully objected to the use of the worst board jurors to describe senators because the analogy to a narrow legal proceeding was so inappropriate. that was according to senator harkin. so look mr. president, i respect our friends across the aisle. but it appears, o that will some of the president deranged cinemas a bad case of abner asia. a bad case of amnesia. and no member of this body needs lecture on fairness from house democrats who just orshed through the most unfair impeachment in modern history. or lectures on impartiality from senators who happily
prejudge the case of president clinton and simply change their standards to suit the political whim. look anyone who knows the history and understands the constitution knows the senator's role in an impeachment trial is nothing. nothing. en's nothing like the java jurors and the legal system. the very things that make the senate the right form toll settle impeachment, or disqualify all of us and an ordinary trial. all of us of the disqualified and ordinary 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 involved in 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, and this ise critical, the senate is unique by design. the framers felt the senate to provide the check against short-term -ism, the runaway passions, and the demon faction that hamilton warned would extend this scepter over the house of representatives at certain seasons. we exist because the founders wanted an institution that could stop momentary hysteria, and partisan passions. they want to stop those from damaging our republic. an institution that could be
thoughtful, be sober, and take v the long view. and that, is why the constitution puts the impeachment trial in this place. not because senators should pretend they are uninformed, un- impending aided and disinterested in the long term political questions that the impeachment of a president poses. but precisely because we are informed, we are opinionated, and 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 purely reflexive partisanship, and putting aside personal relationships, and animosities.
it means cruelly considering the facts, that the house has presented and then rendering verdict we feel 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 news cycle and overturning e her election that would be for generations. so you better believe senators have started forming opinions over the last weeks and months. we sure have. especially in light of the precedent breaking theatrics. those theatrics that house representatives chose to engage in. but here's where we are mr. president, their turn is
over. they have done enough damage. it's the senate's turn now to render sober judgment as the framers envisioned. but we cannot hold a trial without the articles. the senate's own rules don't provide for that. so for now, we are content to continue the ordinary business of the senate while house democrats continue to flounder. forbu now, but if they ever muster the courage to stand behind their slapdash work products, and try to submit their articles to the senate, it will then be time for the united states senate to fulfill our founding purpose. >> last night the united