Pelosi impeachment manager is calling for McConnell’s recusal from Trump Senate trial.


A Florida congresswoman who on Wednesday became an impeachment manager in President Donald Trump's upcoming Senate trial wants to remove the lead juror: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Rep Val Demings' position, shared publicly by a just a few other Democrats, could undercut House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's efforts to frame impeachment as an exercise of constitutional duty. Republicans have argued for months that Democrats are on a partisan mission to remove Trump from office.

Yet in selecting Demings on Wednesday as one of the seven impeachment managers, Pelosi is giving a national spotlight to a Democrat who has often gone against House leaders on impeachment issues — she first called for Trump's removal from office a year before party leadership and is now agitating for McConnell's recusal.

Her opposition to McConnell's participation in the Senate trial that is set to start next week stems from the Kentucky Republican boasting that he won't be impartial in deciding whether Trump should be acquitted or convicted.

“I'm not an impartial juror," McConnell said at a press conference in December. "This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision."

Demings released a statement on Dec. 13 declaring McConnell unfit to vote in Trump's impeachment trial after Senate leader went on Fox News to further detail his coordination with the White House on impeachment strategy.

"The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation of that oath," she said at the time. "He has effectively promised to let President Trump manage his own impeachment trial. The Senator must withdraw."

Following the press conference announcing impeachment managers on Wednesday, when asked if she still holds that position, Demings told McClatchy, "I certainly do."

"I'm disappointed," she continued. "As I said before, the senators and we have been given a tremendous responsibility, as well as the president. For the Senate Majority Leader to publicly announce that he has no intentions on being impartial and, as a matter of fact, he's coordinating every step with the White House and there will be no difference between the White House and his views, is absolutely shameful. It's hard to take that one back and put that toothpaste back in the tube."

Nearly every House Democrat has harshly criticized McConnell for his political posture relating to impeachment, including Pelosi, who has said the majority leader has gone "rogue."

But only a handful of rank-and-file lawmakers have said McConnell should remove himself from the process entirely — an unrealistic demand that has prompted Republicans to counter that Democrats are biased.

"It seems inconsistent," said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, who like Demings is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. "She has made her views pretty clear on this and has from the beginning, and, by the way, said things very similar to what Mitch has said prior to us receiving our evidence."

McConnell's office did not respond to a request for comment on Demings' statements.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Republicans will closely scrutinize the impeachment managers, including Demings.

"The impeachment managers' words are going to be looked at very closely and especially their impartiality, the fact that many of them were calling for impeachment long before the phone call with [Ukranian] President [Volodomyr] Zelensky," Scalise told McClatchy. "So the fact that it was a political vendetta for so many of them rather than a search for justice, I think, will be scrutinized."

Scalise was referring to the transcript of the July 25, 2019, conversation, released on Sept. 25, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate his 2020 political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden — which led to House Democrats' decision to pursue impeachment.

First elected to Congress in 2016 in a safe Democratic district, Demings is a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees — the two panels that had the most direct jurisdiction over the chamber's impeachment proceedings.

On the House floor on Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi cited Demings' experience as a law enforcement officer in Orlando for 27 years, including her distinction as the first woman police chief. "She knows her way around a courtroom," Pelosi said.

As the Republican National Committee blasted Demings' participation in the impeachment trial, Demings' colleagues defended her on Wednesday.

"They're using it for distraction," said Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Miami, a freshman member of the House Judiciary Committee in a tough reelection fight this year, of Republican complaints about Demings and others who have called for McConnell to step aside.

"They're trying to hide all the evidence we found, documentary evidence. They're not allowing at this point for witnesses to come forward," she said.

"There's a difference between the role of a prosecutor and the role of the juror, and the role of the prosecutor is trying to make the case of guilt," said Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif. "There's never been an issue of bias on the part of the prosecutor."

Emma Dumain and Alex Daugherty, Miami Herald, January 15, 2020


January 17, 2020

Voices4America Post Script. The impeachment process uncovered some amazing and brave patriots including Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, George Kent, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Now we can add @RepValDemings to that august list.

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