Democrats and their media allies have spent weeks with their relentless attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell but it is just more of the same dishonesty.
The plotters of the coup against President Trump would have Americans believe that the Kentucky Republican’s communication with the White House on the upcoming trial is an unprecedented attack on democracy.
Only it isn’t and McConnell’s strategy bears a close resemblance to that of former POTUS Bill Clinton when he was impeached and his Senate allies were in close coordination with Slick Willie’s defense team.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has come under fire from Democrats, and at least one Republican, for his coordination with the White House on the pending impeachment trial — but the outrage overlooks the fact that Democrats took a similar approach with President Bill Clinton during his 1999 trial in the Senate.
But whether or not Senate leaders should be coordinating with the White House, McConnell is appearing to follow a precedent set during the 1999 Clinton impeachment.
According to then-Washington Post reporter Peter Baker’s book, “The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton,” Senate Democrats coordinated with the White House on a number of impeachment-related issues behind the scenes.
According to Baker, one of those arrangements involved White House Counsel Charles Ruff arranging a “secret signal” with Democratic leadership. If Ruff wanted to rebut anything from the Republican House managers, something rules didn’t allow for, he pre-arranged with then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle’s aides for a senator to submit a question to then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist asking the White House to respond.
Aides reportedly would “fill in the name” of one of several “default senators” — such as Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and then-Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. — who had agreed to allow themselves to “be used in this way.”
The book also detailed how then-Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, spoke with Clinton and helped organize a pressure campaign in defeating Sen. Susan Collins’, R-Maine., attempt to adopt “findings of fact” by which the Senate could take a majority vote on whether Clinton lied under oath and impeded discovery of evidence even if the chamber failed to convict him. Baker described how Clinton “tracked down Harkin in the Democratic cloakroom during a break in the trial to vent his outrage” at what Collins was cooking up.
“Harkin needed no convincing,” Baker wrote. “He had immediately recognized the pernicious effects of the findings plan and set about trying to destroy it before it got too far.”
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