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Mitch McConnell (aka Moscow Mitch) Trump Enabler Helping Trump and Russia More Than America Page 2

Mitch McConnell (aka Moscow Mitch) is a Trump enabler who has done more to protect and enable Trump and help Russia than he has done to help America and protect the constitution. Instead of Mitch McConnell, doing his job to help Americans during the great recession his focus was to make Obama a one-term president. Mitch McConnell did his best to obstruct Obama during the great recession at the expense of everyday Americans. Instead of trying to help Americans, he wanted to prevent Obama from accomplishing anything even if meant harming Americans. If McConnell were a real American, he would have put aside any difference with Obama and worked with him for the American people.

First Moscow McConnell blocked Obama’s court picks then McConnell made up a lie 10 months before an election "leave it to the people" to steal Obama Supreme Court pick now less than 30 days from an election Moscow Mitch wants to fill a Supreme Court opening. What happen to "leave it to the people" can you say Moscow Mitch is a hypocrite, can you say coup d’état. After blocking Obama picks to the court system Moscow Mitch packs the court system with over 200 right-wing judges who are not qualified to be judges. Here is the thing the people had put Obama in place so they had already decided that the pick would be Obama’s. However, McConnell with 10 months to go outright stole that pick by refusing a hearing on Obama’s pick while saying it was up to the American people disregarding the fact that the American people put that out Obama in office to make that pick. Now less than 30 days from an election Moscow Mitch would fill a Supreme Court opening. What happen to "leave it to the people" can you say Moscow Mitch is a hypocrite.

Four years ago, McConnell and Republicans said it should be up the American people now with the election less than 30 days away McConnell and Republicans are refusing to wait on the vote of the American people just the opposite of what McConnell and the Republicans said 4 years ago. McConnell and Republicans after packing the court system with over 200 judges they are pushing a vote to pack the Supreme Court while accusing the Democrats of what they are doing and have done. McConnell and Republicans are accusing the Democrats of what they have been doing for the last years even though the Democrats have not done anything yet. Once again, Republicans are showing just how hypocritical they are and how little they care about what the American people want or who they vote for.

Instead of doing the business of the American people, McConnell and Republicans have been busy packing the courts. There are over 400 bills on McConnell desk that he has refused to address that would help the American people; instead, he is more interested in packing the court system. McConnell has blocked everything from legislation to help unemployed workers to a bipartisan background check bill for gun sales. Moscow Mitch is not helping the American by packing the court system while refusing to pass bill that actually help the American people.

When Obama wanted to come out with joint statement on Russian interference instead of doing the right thing Moscow Mitch said no and threatened to use it against Obama, which would have caused confusing during the 2016 elections. We know Moscow Mitch knew about Russian interference during the 2016 election so why does he keep preventing election security bills from passing, maybe Moscow Mitch wants the Russian to continue helping Trump and the Republican Party.

History is a funny thing they say winners write the history, which may be true at the time it is written however, history is, always updated with the facts as they come out. As the facts come out and the history about Moscow Mitch is re-written about how he wanted to make Obama, a onetime president at the expense of the American people. In addition, how he deprived him of his court picks and his Supreme Court pick the question will be answered was he trying to deprive a black man from his place in history?

Moscow Mitch has done nothing to prevent Russian hacking of the 2020 election and it does not appear he plans to do so. We elect our representatives to protect us from our enemies both foreign and domestic (Trump) Moscow Mitch refuses to protect us from both. Republicans do not believe in laws or the constitution applies to them. Republicans only care about our laws and the constitution when they are not in power using it to attack democrats. When they are in power they violate our laws and the constitution every chance they get. Read below to find out more about Moscow Mitch.#MitchMcConnell, #moscowmitch, #massacremitch  

*** What the hell happened to let the people decide McConnell? McConnell you lied and stole Obama's Supreme Court pick you are a hypocrite and a thief. ***

By Jordain Carney

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed Friday night that Republicans will move to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death. "Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise," McConnell said. "President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate," McConnell added. More...

By Nicholas GoldbergColumnist

We saw this coming. Not just that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg might die before the election. But that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the most shameless man in Washington, would respond with one of the most nauseating acts of political hypocrisy in decades — vowing to rush a new Trump appointee onto the court in the two short months before the election.

That may not seem so nauseating and hypocritical on the face of it. After all, Donald Trump is the sitting president and Ginsburg died on his watch, so by law, Trump is entitled to nominate a successor and McConnell, in the ordinary course of events, would schedule confirmation hearings.

But McConnell doesn’t believe that! He argued just the opposite four years ago when Justice Antonin Scalia died and it was President Obama’s constitutional duty to fill the seat during his last year in office. Remember what McConnell did? He simply refused to hold confirmation hearings for Obama’s nominee in the Senate and ran out the clock until the following January. He argued — utterly unpersuasively — that a president in the final year of his term shouldn’t be appointing new justices. more...

By Carrie Johnson

With a boost from the Republican-led Senate, President Trump has now confirmed 200 federal judges. Each one has a life term, representing a legacy that could extend for a generation. The president often trumpets the achievement in speeches and on Twitter. But the credit belongs as much to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who took a victory lap last week. "When we depart this chamber today, there will not be a single circuit court vacancy for the first time in at least 40 years," said McConnell, who's been advancing the judicial nominees with single-minded focus. "McConnell confirmed the fewest judges since President Truman during Obama's last two years in office," said Christopher Kang, who vetted judicial nominees in the Obama White House. "So the reason President Trump had 200 judgeships to fill in the first place is because McConnell obstructed." Obama made the nominations, but McConnell kept them from being confirmed to wait for a Republican — in Trump — whose campaign the Senate majority leader then carried out with zeal, Kang said. *** Mitch McConnell stacked the court with unqualified judges some who do not know the law.

“What I do think is clearly a bridge too far is this nonsense that we need to airbrush the Capitol," he says.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday rebuffed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s calls for nearly a dozen Confederate statues to be removed from the Capitol, saying it was an attempt to “airbrush” history. “What I do think is clearly a bridge too far is this nonsense that we need to airbrush the Capitol and scrub out everybody from years ago who had any connection to slavery,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters, noting that a handful of former American presidents owned slaves. Each U.S. state sends two statues to the Capitol building, and they can be switched out at any time. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, said seven states are in the process of removing certain statues from the Capitol. But last week, amid a nationwide reckoning over continued racial injustices highlighted by police killings of unarmed African Americans, Pelosi demanded that 11 Confederate statues be immediately removed. “While I believe it is imperative that we never forget our history lest we repeat it, I also believe that there is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country,” Pelosi wrote. - The Republican Party is on the wrong side of history. Confederates were traitors; the Republican Party supports traitors by protecting the monuments of traitors. Protecting the monuments of traitor’s means in some way you support what the people who committed treason against America did. We should not honor traitors; honoring traitors gives the impression that you can commit treason against America and be honored. We should not honor the traitors who fought against our country that dishonors all the great Americans who have fought and died for our country.

The GOP's majority faces increasing peril.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he planned to stay on as Republican leader regardless of whether he's relegated to the minority or keeps control of the Senate. "I do," McConnell said when asked if he'll continue to seek the party leader role after the November elections. McConnell, 78, has had the job of GOP leader since 2007 and is the longest serving Republican leader of all time.

By Rebecca Klar

A progressive Democrat seeking to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the fall said the Kentucky Republican “couldn’t care less” if Kentuckians die. “My message is very populist. I’m speaking to issues that are at the kitchen table,” state Rep. Charles Booker (D) said Monday on MSNBC. “I'm a Type 1 diabetic, I've had to ration my insulin and nearly die from that. That cuts across party lines, and a lot of folks that supported [President] Trump are supporting me because they know I'm going to fight for Kentucky for a change,” Booker added. “And someone like Mitch McConnell, who has profited off our pain and sold us out in every way imaginable, couldn’t care less if we die.” The state lawmaker also criticized one of his toughest Democratic primary challengers, Amy McGrath, a retired Marine Corps fighter pilot. McGrath narrowly lost a challenge to Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) in 2018 in a GOP-leaning district. “My biggest opponent, Amy McGrath, who calls herself a pro-Trump Democrat, doesn't have clue about the challenges we face,” Booker said. “So I’m excited to build this new coalition.”

By Jordain Carney

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked a resolution from Democrats that would have condemned President Trump after rubber bullets and gas were used on peaceful protesters near the White House. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to pass the resolution, which was introduced earlier Tuesday, by unanimous consent, meaning any one senator could block it. "If a senator objects, they should be asked if they believe Americans do not have the constitutional right to exercise the freedom of speech. ... Do they support the president's use of tear gas against people, including families, who are peacefully protesting in a public park?" Schumer said. The resolution condemns Trump for "ordering Federal officers to use gas and rubber bullets against the Americans who were peaceably protesting in Lafayette Square in Washington, DC on the night of June 1, 2020, thereby violating the constitutional rights of those peaceful protestors." The National Guard, U.S. Park Police and Secret Service used rubber bullets and tear gas to clear demonstrators from Lafayette Square so that Trump could cross the street to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been set on fire by vandals the night before. The Washington Post reported that Attorney General William Barr personally ordered for the perimeter near the White House to be extended, pushing protesters away from Lafayette Square.

The Senate majority leader took a hard line in a conference call with House Republicans.

Mitch McConnell promised House Republicans on Wednesday that the beefed up unemployment benefits enacted earlier this spring "will not be in the next bill." The Senate majority leader told the House GOP minority in an afternoon phone call that he is comfortable waiting to see how the nearly $3 trillion in coronavirus spending previously approved plays out before moving forward on the next relief legislation. And he told them the ultimate end-product won't look anything like House Democrats' $3 trillion package passed last week, according to a person briefed on the call. While McConnell conceded more aid may be necessary in the coming weeks, he also repeated his insistence that liability reform be included in the next round of legislation to minimize lawsuits. And he said the $600 weekly boost in unemployment benefits won't continue — a vow he hadn't previously made.

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded Thursday night that he was wrong to claim that the Obama administration had not left behind a plan to deal with a pandemic in the US. "I was wrong. They did leave behind a plan, so I clearly made a mistake in that regard," McConnell said during an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier. The concession comes days after he falsely accused the Obama administration of failing to leave the Trump administration "any kind of game plan" for something like the coronavirus pandemic during a Trump campaign online chat with Lara Trump, the President's daughter-in-law. "They claim pandemics only happen once every hundred years but what if that's no longer true? We want to be early, ready for the next one, because clearly the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this," McConnell had said Monday. In reality, former President Barrack Obama's White House National Security Council left the Trump administration a detailed document on how to respond to a pandemic. The document, whose existence was publicly revealed by Politico in March, is called the Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents. The playbook contains step-by-step advice on questions to ask, decisions to make and which federal agencies are responsible for what. It includes sample documents that officials could use for inter-agency meetings. And it explicitly lists novel coronaviruses as one of the kinds of pathogens that could require a major response. Additionally, outgoing senior Obama officials also led an in-person pandemic response exercise for senior incoming Trump officials in January 2017 -- as required by a new law on improving presidential transitions that Obama signed in 2016.

By Jordain Carney

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Republicans are hitting the brakes on another coronavirus relief bill even as House Democrats are preparing to vote on a yet-to-be-unveiled bill as soon as next week. "I think I can speak for our conference by saying we're not ruling that out, but we think we ought to take a pause here, do a good job of evaluating what we've already done," McConnell told reporters after a closed-door caucus lunch about the prospects for a new bill. "The Senate Republican majority and the president of the United States are not irrelevant to the process, so we're going to keep talking to each other and decide to act when and if it's appropriate to act again," McConnell added. McConnell's comments come as the Senate returned to D.C. for the first time in five weeks with nominations — not the coronavirus — at the forefront of the agenda, which has sparked days of Democratic ire. McConnell did not specify what he views as a timeline for any potential Senate action. The chamber is expected to be in session until a weeklong Memorial Day recess. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, said he did not see this work period as a deadline for Congress passing additional legislation. "No, I don't think so," he said. "I think we need to think about whether or not what we continue to believe was the right thing to do in March is still going to be the right thing for us to be doing in June." Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), an adviser to McConnell, also told reporters that the next bill was likely weeks off.

By J. Edward Moreno

A federal judge is calling for an investigation to find out whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pressured a Washington, D.C., federal judge to retire so the senator could nominate judge Justin Walker, a 38-year-old Kentucky federal judge who was confirmed for his current role in October. Demand Justice, a progressive judicial watchdog group, requested a postponement of Wednesday’s scheduled hearing on the nomination of Walker. “The hearing on Walker’s nomination should not go forward until we know the truth about what ethical lines Mitch McConnell crossed to get Walker this seat," Demand Justice said in a statement. “McConnell should come clean about whether and when he contacted Judge Thomas Griffith prior to his sudden retirement.” On Friday, Sri Srinivasan, the chief justice of the court to which Walker has been nominated, issued a public order asking U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to transfer to another circuit after Demand Justice’s allegation. The New York Times has reported that McConnell has allegedly pressured judges to retire in time for President Trump to fill their vacancies this term. A spokesperson for McConnell’s office told The Hill that the senator, “looks forward to watching Judge Walker’s confirmation hearing this week.”

By Brooke Lierman, Opinion Contributor

By now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) half-baked idea to encourage states to declare bankruptcy so that the federal government is absolved of further responsibility has been widely and roundly condemned on a bipartisan basis. McConnell’s statements make clear that he has never been a state legislator tasked with balancing a budget— and any rhetoric he makes about our frontline workers is undermined by his embrace of state bankruptcy. He knows that the current welfare and future retirement of police, firefighters, health departments, and all those essential workers and service providers who have kept things going as we continue to navigate the pandemic rest in the hands of the state and local governments. In turn, the solvency of many of these governments depends on swift action by Congress. Setting aside concerns about the legality or constitutionality of having a sovereign state declare bankruptcy, McConnell’s proposal reveals both his deep antagonism for voters and a failure to understand the dynamics of our national economy. Allowing states to declare bankruptcy would be an assault on representative democracy. No longer would it be elected governors and legislators who determine state budgetary policies, but instead, unelected federal bankruptcy judges would decide what state budget priorities to cut and to what extent. In Maryland, as in most states, legislators are required to pass a balanced budget. Maryland voters understand that when they send us to Annapolis we cannot rely on a central bank or government printing press, we are charged with making the hard choices about which programs to fund and which to cut. As Appropriations Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh remarks every year, our goal is to pass a budget that is socially responsible and fiscally prudent. It is unlikely that federal bankruptcy judges would feel—or act—the same.

By Ted Barrett and Manu Raju, CNN

(CNN) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls not to return to session next week while the coronavirus epidemic is still on the rise across the country and in Washington in particular, saying the chamber has essential constitutionally-mandated duties to carry out, including the confirmation of President Donald Trump's judicial nominees. "I think we can conduct our business safely," McConnell told Fox News in an interview Thursday. "We've got a whole lot of other people showing up for work during the pandemic. It's time for the Senate to do that as well. We have many confirmations, for example. The Senate is in the personnel business. The House is not." Eighty-six-year-old Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California called on McConnell on Wednesday to reverse course saying Democratic leaders who run the House were smart to follow the guidance of the Attending Physician of Congress, Dr. Brian Monahan, who urged them not to bring lawmakers back next week. Asked if he had gotten different advice from Monahan about whether the Senate -- which has only 100 members compared to 435 in the House -- should return to work, McConnell would not directly answer other than to say, "we can modify our routines in ways that are smart and safe." On a private GOP conference call Thursday, McConnell didn't offer many details about the Senate's upcoming agenda or the procedures for carrying out business when the chamber returns next week, according to two people on the call. McConnell told GOP senators that more guidance will come from the Capitol physician's office over the next day or so. There was also discussion about the Senate Rules Committee issuing guidance about allowing Senate committees to conduct confirmation proceedings for nominees without having formal hearings, one of the sources said. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday that he will "scrutinize" McConnell's safety guidelines for returning to session next week, which he said McConnell will release Friday. Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Schumer said McConnell never consulted him about returning next week and said he will review the GOP leader's safety plans "very carefully" to make sure all senators and "workers are protected in every way." His comment came in response to a question pointing to a highly diverse workforce in Washington, DC -- nearly 50% African American -- many of whom work at the US Capitol in service jobs. "We are going to scrutinize Leader McConnell's plan very carefully to see if it does provide the needed protections for the staff and the workers who are here," he said. Schumer also reiterated Democrats' call for prioritizing oversight hearings on the administration handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has left the country without widespread Covid-19 testing months into the crisis. For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the House's current plan is to return the week after next to advance another coronavirus relief package. "We're not coming back next week," Pelosi said during her weekly press conference. "Our plan is to come back the following week." But she also said the House is "at the mercy of the virus" and the schedule will depend on guidance from the Capitol attending physician and the sergeant at arms. - People are losing their jobs and their lives and Mitch McConnell agenda is judicial nominees.

By Jordain Carney and Max Greenwood

Democrats are seizing on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) suggestion that states should be able to declare bankruptcy as the party looks to bring his Kentucky seat into play. The GOP leader has made his outsized influence in Washington a key pillar of his campaign, positioning himself as the driving force behind Congress’s coronavirus relief bills and touting his efforts to score critical federal aid for his state. But Democrats believe McConnell’s remarks — that states facing budget shortfalls amid the pandemic should be able to “use the bankruptcy route” — blow a hole in his reelection argument. “I would anticipate seeing them in a lot of campaign ads,” said Ryan Aquilina, the executive director of the Ditch Mitch Fund, a Democratic-aligned outside group. It was “the single stupidest thing I have seen him say in quite some time. ... I think in a state like Kentucky it really is an attack on pensions, it’s an attack on the Medicaid program, on cops.” A national Democratic strategist argued that McConnell’s stance was “problematic” and that the “disparity in [GOP] priorities” gave the issue legs. “McConnell has made clear that he’s happy to hand out massive corporate bailouts ... and he now wants all these strings attached for state and local governments who fund essential services,” the strategist said. The flare-up comes as the GOP leader has positioned himself as a breadwinner for Kentucky, which received roughly $2.7 billion under last month’s bill. A 2019 USA Today study ranked Kentucky second highest in the amount of federal money received per resident.

by Caitlin Yilek
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s apparent lack of enthusiasm to combat Russian interference in the 2016 election changed spy chief James Clapper’s opinion of the top Republican. According to David Rohde’s recently published book, In Deep: The FBI, the CIA and the Truth about America’s “Deep State," McConnell repeatedly told the Obama administration he did not have time to be briefed on Russian interference. In late summer 2016, President Barack Obama asked intelligence officials to brief the four top Democrats and Republicans in Congress on the election meddling before it became public. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi quickly received the briefings, the book said. “When Clapper called McConnell to set up the briefing, he did not respond. McConnell finally received the briefing in early September,” Rohde wrote. Clapper, the director of national intelligence from 2010 to January 2017, said he was surprised that some Republicans, particularly McConnell, did not take election interference more seriously. “All the previous dealings I had with McConnell, I thought he was a patriot, he cared about the country,” Clapper told Rohde. “But for whatever reason, we were on two different planets when it came to this Russia deal.” When Clapper and a handful of other intelligence officials briefed lawmakers again in January 2017 on Russian interference, McConnell was quiet. “He was very dour. He didn’t ask any questions,” Clapper said. “Ryan asked a couple questions. Richard Burr, he asked a couple questions and evinced that he was interested. Senator McConnell not so much.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the Republican chairman of the National Governors Association, said he thought McConnell "probably would regret making that comment."
By Allan Smith

Governors on Sunday criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for saying last week that he would prefer states to be able to declare bankruptcy rather than provide hundreds of billions in relief as state and local government revenue dries up. McConnell's comments came as state and local governments pressed for funding in the latest coronavirus aid package — funding that ultimately was not included. However, President Donald Trump has indicated that emergency funding for state and local governments would be on the table for the next round of COVID-19 legislation. McConnell said any debate over state and local funding would not take place until the Senate is back in session, likely at the start of next month, and he said it's time to start considering the impact the emergency spending will have on the national debt. Speaking to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, McConnell said he "would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route." "It saves some cities," he continued. "And there's no good reason for it not to be available. My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don't have to do that. That's not something I'm going to be in favor of." On Sunday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, called McConnell's suggestion "outrageous" and "incredibly dangerous." She doesn't "think that the vast majority of governors in this country, Republican and Democratic, would agree with him." "He's wrong, and we need Congress to step up and help states," she said on ABC News' "This Week." "Because this pandemic — it's because of this global pandemic that we are all having to make tough decisions. We need the federal government to have our backs." Also on "This Week," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who is chairman of the National Governors Association, said he thought McConnell "probably would regret making that comment the other day."

The Senate majority leader is prioritizing the Republican Party rather than the American people during this crisis.
By David Frum

American states are abruptly facing their worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that more than 25 percent of state revenues have evaporated because of the pandemic. Demands on state health-care budgets, state unemployment systems, and state social-welfare benefits are surging. By the summer of 2022, the state budget gap could total half a trillion dollars. States need help. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not want to provide it. On The Hugh Hewitt Show on April 23, McConnell proposed another idea. Instead of more federal aid, states should cut their spending by declaring bankruptcy: I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. And there’s no good reason for it not to be available. My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.” McConnell expanded on the state-bankruptcy concept later that same day in a phone interview with Fox News’s Bill Hemmer: We’re not interested in solving their pension problems for them. We’re not interested in rescuing them from bad decisions they've made in the past, we’re not going to let them take advantage of this pandemic to solve a lot of problems that they created themselves [with] bad decisions in the past. McConnell’s words instantly attracted attention, criticism, even some derision. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted the idea as “dumb,” “irresponsible,” and “petty”: How do you think this is going to work? And then to suggest we’re concerned about the economy, states should declare bankruptcy. That’s how you’re going to bring this national economy back? By states declaring bankruptcy? You want to see that market fall through the cellar? … I mean, if there’s ever a time for humanity and decency, now is the time. Cuomo’s fervent rebuttal grabbed the cameras. It did not settle the issue. State bankruptcy is not some passing fancy. Republicans have been advancing the idea for more than a decade. Back in 2011, Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich published a jointly bylined op-ed advocating state bankruptcy as a solution for the state of California. The Tea Party Congress elected in 2010 explored the idea of state bankruptcy in House hearings and Senate debates. Newt Gingrich promoted it in his run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. - Mitch McConnell is not suggesting businesses go bankrupt, but does suggest states to go bankrupt, while he protects businesses and the rich.

McConnell puts party above America, and Trump above party
By Robert Reich

This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

He’s maybe the most dangerous politician of my lifetime. He’s helped transform the Republican Party into a cult, worshiping at the altar of authoritarianism. He’s damaged our country in ways that may take a generation to undo. The politician I’m talking about, of course, is Mitch McConnell. Two goals for November 3, 2020: The first and most obvious is to get the worst president in history out of the White House. That’s necessary but not sufficient. We also have to flip the Senate and remove the worst Senate Majority Leader in history. Like Trump, Mitch McConnell is no garden-variety bad public official. McConnell puts party above America, and Trump above party. Even if Trump is gone, if the Senate remains in Republican hands and McConnell is reelected, America loses because McConnell will still have a chokehold on our democracy. This is the man who refused for almost a year to allow the Senate to consider President Obama’s moderate Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland. And then, when Trump became president, this is the man who got rid of the age-old Senate rule requiring 60 Senators to agree on a Supreme Court nomination so he could ram through not one but two Supreme Court justices, including one with a likely history of sexual assault. This is the man who rushed through the Senate, without a single hearing, a $2 trillion tax cut for big corporations and wealthy Americans — a tax cut that raised the government debt by almost the same amount, generated no new investment, failed to raise wages, but gave the stock market a temporary sugar high because most corporations used the tax savings to buy back their own shares of stock. McConnell refuses to support what’s needed for comprehensive election security — although both the U.S. intelligence community and Special Prosecutor Mueller say Moscow is continuing to hack into our voting machines and to weaponize disinformation through social media. McConnell has earned the nickname “Moscow Mitch” because he’s doing exactly what Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump want him to do — leave America vulnerable to another Putin-supported victory for Trump. McConnell is also blocking bipartisan background-check legislation for gun sales, even after the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, El Paso and Odessa, Texas. So even if Trump is out of the White House, if McConnell remains Senate Majority Leader he will not allow a Democratic president to govern. He won’t allow debate or votes on Medicare for All, universal pre-K, a wealth tax, student loan forgiveness, or the Green New Deal. He won’t allow confirmation votes on judges nominated by a Democratic president. The good news is McConnell is the least popular senator in the country with his own constituents. He’s repeatedly sacrificed Kentucky to Trump’s agenda — for example, agreeing to Trump’s so-called emergency funding for a border wall, which would take $63 million away from projects like a new middle school on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee. McConnell is even cut funding for black lung disease suffered by Kentucky coal miners. I know from my years as labor secretary that coal mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and the number of cases of incurable black lung disease has been on the rise. But when a group of miners took a 10-hour bus ride to Washington this past summer to ask McConnell to restore the funding, McConnell met with them for one minute and then refused to help them. No wonder Democrats are lining up in Kentucky to run against Moscow Mitch in 2020.

Blocking federal aid is vile, but it’s also hypocritical.
By Paul Krugman

Covid-19 has killed tens of thousands of Americans, and will clearly kill many more. The lockdown needed to contain the coronavirus is causing an economic slump several times as deep as the Great Recession. Yet this necessary slump doesn’t have to be accompanied by severe financial hardship. We have the resources to ensure that every American has enough to eat, that people don’t lose health insurance, that they don’t lose their homes because they can’t pay rent or mortgage fees. There’s also no reason we should see punishing cuts in essential public services. Unfortunately, it’s looking increasingly likely that tens of millions of Americans will in fact suffer extreme hardship and that there will be devastating cuts in services. Why? The answer mainly boils down to two words: Mitch McConnell. On Wednesday, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, declared that he is opposed to any further federal aid to beleaguered state and local governments, and suggested that states declare bankruptcy instead. Lest anyone accuse McConnell of being even slightly nonpartisan, his office distributed two memos referring to proposals for state aid as “blue state bailouts.” A number of governors have already denounced McConnell’s position as stupid, which it is. But it’s also vile and hypocritical. When I say that we have the resources to avoid severe financial hardship, I’m referring to the federal government, which can borrow vast sums very cheaply. In fact, the interest rate on inflation-protected bonds, which measure real borrowing costs, is minus 0.43 percent: Investors are basically paying the feds to hold their money. So Washington can and should run big budget deficits in this time of need. State and local governments, however, can’t, because almost all of them are required by law to run balanced budgets. Yet these governments, which are on the front line of dealing with the pandemic, are facing a combination of collapsing revenue and soaring expenses. The obvious answer is federal aid. But McConnell wants states and cities to declare bankruptcy instead. This is, as I said, stupid on multiple levels. For one thing, states don’t even have the legal right to declare bankruptcy; even if they somehow managed all the same to default on their relatively small debts, it would do little to alleviate their financial distress — although it could cause a national financial crisis. Oh, and the idea that this is specifically a blue state problem is ludicrous. Fiscal crises are looming all across America, from Florida to Kansas to Texas — hit especially hard by crashing oil prices — to, yes, McConnell’s home state, Kentucky.


“If the city isn’t getting any revenue, which right now it basically is not, how are they going to pay their first responders?” asked Rep. John Yarmuth.
By Sam Brodey

Mitch McConnell had a clear message on Wednesday to state and local governments anxiously waiting on Washington for more relief aid to cope with the coronavirus: Don’t look at me. “I mean, we all represent states. We all have governors regardless of party who would love to have free money,” McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.” McConnell (R-KY) may be the Senate Majority Leader, a powerful lawmaker tasked with shaping legislation with national concerns in mind. But, as he noted to Hewitt, McConnell does indeed represent a state—and his comments echoed loud and clear there. “It was kind of like a punch in the stomach to read,” Joni Jenkins, the Democratic minority leader in Kentucky’s state House of Representatives, told The Daily Beast. She explained that Kentucky, like nearly every state and local government in the country, is staring down an unprecedented fiscal squeeze. With normal business and commerce ground to a halt, sales tax revenue is drying up; skyrocketing unemployment rates mean that state income tax revenues will crater, too. The Kentucky legislature, which just recessed for the year last week, passed a one-year austerity budget in response to the coronavirus’ economic damage. The functions of government are getting hard-hit: the University of Kentucky, for example, announced this week it faces a $70 million budget shortfall and is furloughing employees. Jenkins said that the legislature will have to reconvene if state revenues dip by more than 5 percent, which is likely. “Many of us were hoping for federal help,” she said. “I don’t see how we get out of this downward spiral without some help from the federal government.”

By Kevin Breuninger, Jacob Pramuk

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tore into Sen. Mitch McConnell on Thursday over the Senate Republican leader’s support for letting states declare bankruptcy as they grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. “This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said during a press conference in Albany. “You will see a collapse of this national economy” if states such as New York and California declare bankruptcy, Cuomo said. “So just don’t.” On Wednesday, McConnell, of Kentucky, told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he supports allowing states to declare bankruptcy rather than getting federal money to cover budget shortfalls as tax revenue dives. “I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” McConnell said. “It saves some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available.” McConnell said of state leaders: “My guess is, their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.” Cuomo, whose state has been hit harder by Covid-19 than anywhere else in the U.S., strongly disagreed. “The entire nation is dependent on what the governors do to reopen,” Cuomo said at the press conference. “But then you’re not going to fund the state government? You think I’m going to do it alone? How do you think this is going to work?” “You want to see that market fall through the cellar? Let New York declare bankruptcy,” Cuomo added.

By Ted Barrett and Manu Raju, CNN

(CNN) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a hard line Wednesday against more funding for state and local governments in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, saying that Republicans are not interested in "revenue replacement for state governments" or "solving their pension problems." McConnell's tough words came a day after the Senate approved a $484 billion bill to help small businesses and hospitals respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The measure did not include funds for state and local governments, despite Democrats arguing they are hard hit by the disease and the corresponding economic fallout. Instead, McConnell suggested in interviews Wednesday that Democrats are trying to get the federal government to essentially bail out state and local governments for bad decisions they made related to public pension obligations and other sources of expensive debt. "I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route," McConnell told Hugh Hewitt in a radio interview. "It saves some cities. And there's no good reason for it not to be available. My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don't have to do that. That's not something I'm going to be in favor of." Republican Rep. Pete King of New York slammed McConnell's comments Wednesday night, tweeting that his "dismissive remark" is "shameful and indefensible." "To say that it is 'free money' to provide funds for cops, firefighters and healthcare workers makes McConnell the Marie Antoinette of the Senate," King wrote. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, also slammed McConnell's remarks Wednesday, calling it "one of the dumb statements of all time." "Mitch McConnell, they're talking about bringing back the economy and then he says states should declare bankruptcy. How does that help the national economy, states should declare bankruptcy?" he told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "Cuomo Prime Time." He added, "he then says this is a bailout to the blue states, which was a really offensive statement." On the politics, McConnell said he expects the "finger pointing" over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak to pick up as the election nears. - Mitch McConnell is ok with states going bankrupt while he protects the rich and businesses. Mitch McConnell is more than happy to give our tax dollars to rich and to businesses, but not to states that employ teachers, firefighters and police officers. Mitch McConnell and the GOP do not want to give money to the ones who teach our children; protect our homes, our business and our families.

Cuomo Prime Time

During an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to a comment made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on government funding to Democratic states. Source: CNN

The Senate majority leader is hitting the brakes.
By Jim Newell

The half-loaf agreement that Democratic and Republican negotiators reached on Tuesday to replenish the the government’s emptied-out small-business rescue offered nothing on one of Democrats’ top negotiating demands: additional grants for cash-strapped state, local, and tribal governments, which have seen expenditures soar and revenues plummet during the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans would not negotiate on the aid in this “interim” bill to reup the Payroll Protection Program, and with restaurants and bookstores collapsing by the day, Democrats agreed to defer it to the next relief bill. And that next one, Democratic leaders say, will be substantial, in line with the multitrillion-dollar CARES Act that passed in late March. “In the weeks ahead, Congress must prepare another major bill, similar in size and ambition to the CARES Act,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. Among the items this bill would need to include, he said, was additional state, local, and tribal government assistance, rent assistance, hazard pay for front-line workers, Postal Service relief, a boost to food assistance programs, and resources for November election integrity (i.e., making sure people can vote). He promised that the administration and his negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, were seeking another big bill, too. Around the same time, though, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—who had just secured more money for PPP, and a month ago had secured all the money that large corporations would ever need—suggested it might be time for Congress to declare victory and call it a day. “I think it’s also time to think about the amount of debt that we’re adding to our country and the future impact of that,” McConnell said at a press conference Tuesday. “And I think we’ve also seen, with this catastrophic damage to the economy, that until we can begin to open up the economy we can’t spend enough money to solve the problem.” While he said he understood that state and local governments were “suffering,” he felt that “we’ve gone so far on the national debt here that the next time we address this issue, the Senate should be back in session, fully up and running, with everybody involved in the discussion.” The Senate is scheduled to return May 4. “I said yesterday we’re going to push the pause button here, because I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated,” McConnell told Hewitt. “You raised yourself the important issue of what states have done, many of them have done to themselves with their pension programs. There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.” McConnell’s office excerpted this quote in a press release under the subtitle, “On Stopping Blue State Bailouts.” He added—at Hewitt’s prompting, sure—that he would favor changing bankruptcy laws to allow states to declare bankruptcy instead of using federal funds to rescue them. Cue the Democratic panic. In short: It doesn’t seem that Mitch McConnell is particularly interested in granting anywhere near the $500 billion in additional relief that the bipartisan chair and vice chairs of the National Governors Association has been requesting, and is suggesting that bloated blue states want to exploit the crisis to cover for poor fiscal management predating the crisis. More cynical yet are murmurs that Republicans are intentionally starving governors of resources as a lever to get them to end stay-at-home orders, and resume revenue-generating economic activity, sooner than public health guidelines would recommend.

The Senate majority leader is resisting a top demand from Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday insisted that flailing state and local governments should be able to “use the bankruptcy route” rather than receive aid from the federal government — signaling renewed opposition to a top Democratic demand for the next coronavirus relief package. In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, the Kentucky Republican also expressed concern about adding billions more to the national debt in addition to the nearly $3 trillion Congress has already sent out the door to combat the economic and public health challenges of the pandemic. “There’s no good reason for it not to be available,” McConnell said of individual localities declaring bankruptcy in order to stay afloat. “My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that,” McConnell added. “That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.” States do not have the ability to declare bankruptcy under current law, and modifying the bankruptcy code would likely be a heavy lift in Congress. The Senate on Tuesday passed a nearly $500 billion “interim” package that included additional funding for a popular small-business loan program, hospitals, and expanded coronavirus testing. During the negotiations, Democrats had demanded billions more for state and local governments, citing requests from Democratic and Republican governors alike. McConnell’s office referred to such funding as “blue state bailouts” in a news release earlier Wednesday, further underscoring that there remains broad GOP opposition to such cash infusions. And McConnell himself said it was no surprise that governors, regardless of political party, “would love to have free money.”

McConnell cited concern for the national debt, saying "until we can begin to open up the economy, we can’t spend enough money to solve the problem."
By Allan Smith and Julie Tsirkin

State and local governments facing dire financial straits because of the pandemic will have to wait until at least May before Congress considers further relief, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated. The House is set to vote Thursday on an interim round of coronavirus aid aimed at small businesses, and while Democrats sought to include roughly $150 billion in funding to shore up state and local budgets, the money didn't make it into the final bill because of objections from Republicans and the Trump administration. After the Senate passed the bill Tuesday by voice vote, McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, predicted that future relief efforts would not be afforded such expeditious proceedings, citing concerns about the national debt and adding that "until we can begin to open up the economy, we can’t spend enough money to solve the problem." He made clear that all lawmakers would have to be back in Washington before debating further rescue funds, including for state and local governments. "I think the next debate, which I assume will relate to state and local government relief, needs to be when the Senate is back in session with full participation," McConnell said in response to a question about when he would be open to supporting the next phase of the funding Democrats had wanted to include in the interim package. "And in the meantime, also take a look at how much debt we've racked up and not try to wave something through the Senate, of that consequence, without full participation." The Senate is not expected to return before May 4. Across the country, state and local governments are clamoring for the federal government to rescue them from what could quickly become a fiscal catastrophe, saying that they may need as much as three-quarters of a trillion dollars as the pandemic dries up many of their revenue sources. Democrats sought to include roughly $150 billion in funding to state and local governments in the aid package set for passage, though it was not ultimately included. Already, Congress approved $150 billion in funding for state and local governments as part of earlier coronavirus legislative aid — assistance governors and local leaders said would ultimately not be enough. A Congressional Research Service report last week on initial coronavirus aid said that "early evidence suggests that the COVID-19 economic shock will have a notable impact on state and local budgets," pointing to the "sizable share of economic output" that derives from state and local governments. Bipartisan leadership of the National Governors Association called for $500 billion in aid to state governments to account for budget shortfalls, while counties and mayors have called for an additional $250 billion in emergency relief. On Monday, Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., unveiled a legislative proposal for $500 billion in state and local funding.

The Senate majority leader expressed concern about rising deficits in an interview and said he wanted the full Senate to return before acting again.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is drawing a line: There will be no more attempts at long-distance legislating on the coronavirus. In a telephone interview Tuesday after passage of a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill, the Senate majority leader made clear that the full Senate must be in session before Congress begins its fifth installment of responding to the pandemic. And he signaled he is growing weary of quickly shoveling billions of dollars out the door even as the economy continues to crater. The latest measure cleared the Senate by voice vote, but it was the product of days of fraught negotiations and false starts — and its success will be difficult to replicate as senators' frustrations over the extended recess pile up. McConnell said the Senate will proceed “cautiously” to the next phase of coronavirus relief despite rapidly escalating demands for more aid from members of both parties. And he said that all 100 senators need to be around before Washington spends more money on an unprecedented economic rescue of workers and businesses caught in the virus’ fallout. “You’ve seen the talk from both sides about acting, but my goal from the beginning of this, given the extraordinary numbers that we’re racking up to the national debt, is that we need to be as cautious as we can be,” McConnell said. “We need to see how things are working, see what needs to be corrected, and I do think that the next time we pass a coronavirus rescue bill we need to have everyone here and everyone engaged.” After two weeks of bickering over McConnell’s initial proposal to send a quarter-billion dollars to revive the depleted Paycheck Protection Program, the Senate clinched a deal Tuesday providing more aid to small businesses and hospitals, and for disease testing. But it was neither easy nor pretty and the episode exposed the pitfalls of trying to legislate while the Senate is in recess. McConnell said his goal is still to bring the Senate back on May 4 despite uncertainty nationwide over the spread of a virus that has killed more than 40,000 Americans. But it’s clear that the ongoing recess is becoming untenable: Two Republican senators openly fumed on the Senate floor on Tuesday about passing bills without input from individual lawmakers of Congress. Had either objected, the bipartisan deal would have been derailed and senators would have been hauled back to D.C. “It’s time to do our job. It’s time to return to Washington and get to work,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). “We can’t legislate without our members here.”

By Steven T. Dennis and William Selway

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he favors allowing states struggling with high public employee pension costs amid the burdens of the pandemic response to declare bankruptcy rather than giving them a federal bailout. “I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” he said Wednesday in a response to a question on the syndicated Hugh Hewitt radio show. “It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available.” The host cited California, Illinois and Connecticut as states that had given too much to public employee unions, and McConnell said he was reluctant to take on more debt for any rescue. “You raised yourself the important issue of what states have done, many of them have done to themselves with their pension programs,” he said. “There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.” His statements set up a conflict with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said on Bloomberg Television Wednesday a “major package” of aid for state and local government will be in the next stimulus legislation considered by Congress. McConnell may also find himself in conflict with President Donald Trump. The president said Tuesday after meeting with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that states will need assistance. “And I think most Republicans agree too, and Democrats,” Trump said. “And that’s part of phase four.” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, noted he blocked additional state and local aid in the latest relief package, which passed the Senate Tuesday and is set for a vote Thursday in the House.

With Dorothy Wickenden

Mitch McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984, but he didn’t come to national prominence until the Obama Presidency, when, as the Senate Majority Leader, he emerged as one of the Administration’s most unyielding and effective legislative opponents. In the past three years, McConnell has put his political skills to work in support of Donald Trump’s agenda, despite the lasting damage that his maneuvering is doing to the Senate and to American democracy. Jane Mayer joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how and why McConnell, who faces reëlection this year, became one of Trump’s staunchest allies.

McConnell allegedly said Trump is "so much alike" a politician who he loathes: Alabama's Roy Moore
By Tom Boggioni

McConnell said that Trump resembles a politician he loathes: Roy Moore, According to an extensively researched report on what makes Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell tick, New Yorker writer Jane Mayer reveals that the Senate leader has reportedly called Donald Trump "nuts" behind his back — and that he cynically only supports the president because he is left alone to pursue his own agenda while Trump goes through the motions of being presidential. Mayer writes, "Bill Kristol, a formerly stalwart conservative who has become a leading Trump critic, describes McConnell as 'a pretty conventional Republican who just decided to go along and get what he could out of Trump.' Under McConnell's leadership, the Senate, far from providing a check on the executive branch, has acted as an accelerant. 'Demagogues like Trump, if they can get elected, can't really govern unless they have people like McConnell,' Kristol said. McConnell has stayed largely silent about the President's lies and inflammatory public remarks, and has propped up the Administration with legislative and judicial victories."

The Senate Majority Leader’s refusal to rein in the President is looking riskier than ever.
By Jane Mayer

On Thursday, March 12th, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, could have insisted that he and his colleagues work through the weekend to hammer out an emergency aid package addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, he recessed the Senate for a long weekend, and returned home to Louisville, Kentucky. McConnell, a seventy-eight-year-old Republican who is about to complete his sixth term as a senator, planned to attend a celebration for a protégé, Justin Walker, a federal judge who was once his Senate intern. McConnell has helped install nearly two hundred conservatives as judges; stocking the judiciary has been his legacy project. Soon after he left the Capitol, Democrats in the House of Representatives settled on a preliminary rescue package, working out the details with the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin. The Senate was urgently needed for the next steps in the process. McConnell, though, was onstage in a Louisville auditorium, joking that his opponents “occasionally compare me to Darth Vader.” The gathering had the feel of a reunion. Don McGahn, Donald Trump’s former White House counsel, whom McConnell has referred to as his “buddy and co-collaborator” in confirming conservative judges, flew down for the occasion. So did Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose Senate confirmation McConnell had fought fiercely to secure. Walker, the event’s honoree, had clerked for Kavanaugh, and became one of his lead defenders after Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault. McConnell is now championing Walker for an opening on the powerful D.C. Court of Appeals, even though Walker has received a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, in part because, at the age of thirty-eight, he has never tried a case.

By Alexandra Petri

Will Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) keep confirming judges in this time of pandemic? “We will go back to judges,” he said in an interview. “My motto for the rest of the year is leave no vacancy behind.” The whole landscape was barren, and the fires burned everywhere. And in the smoldering remains of the Senate, Mitch McConnell sat on a throne of skulls making preparations to confirm his 8,999th judge. Mitch McConnell would leave no vacancy behind. The people were long gone. The streets were empty, and some old scraps of burned newspaper tossed on the hot, sulfurous wind. And Mitch McConnell was still confirming judges. The sky was a dark, angry red. The sun was not visible and had not been visible for a long time. There were no longer any rhinoceroses whatsoever. There were exactly three birds. The halls of Congress were empty except for John Quincy Adams’s ghost and one hoarse buzzard perched on a cracked torso in Statuary Hall. And Mitch McConnell was still confirming judges. “Just one more,” he muttered. His voice echoed in the rows of bones all around him. He had been assiduously confirming judges for a very long time, although night and day were now the same and were difficult to measure. Clocks had ceased to exist. “Just one more lifetime appointment.” Someone crawled toward him through the dust on hands and knees. “Why?” creaked forth from his chapped lips. “Mitch, why?” It might have been Chuck Grassley. No one could say. There was no one there to say. “Is there some curse you are trying to break? Is there some reason?” the voice asked. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Mitch McConnell said, as though that were an answer. There had not been chewing gum for a long time. Surely there had been a reason long ago. Power, or the desire for power, or the desire to build a legacy. Or a judicial vacancy had gravely insulted his father. Or he had been told by a sea-witch that if he just confirmed a hundred judges to lifetime appointments, his brothers would all be restored to their human form. Or was it 200? He had forgotten. He had to keep confirming them. There would be no vacancies.

After Sen. Mitch McConnell suggested the government's response to the initial coronavirus outbreak was in part distracted by the president's impeachment, rebuttal memes started flying.
By Dan Evon

U.S. President Donald Trump and the federal government have been widely criticized for what detractors described as their slow response to the COVID-19 coronavirus disease pandemic. As of this writing, the U.S. is still facing shortages of critical medical supplies such as masks and personal protective equipment (PPE). On March 31, 2020, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that the government might have been too distracted by impeachment proceedings to focus on the impending pandemic. McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the outbreak “came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment.” Shortly after McConnell made these remarks, a number of op-eds were published refuting this claim. Trump even responded, saying, “I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached.” On social media, people started sharing a list that supposedly showed all the times Trump had golfed or held rallies after being warned about an impending pandemic, arguing that if Trump had time for leisure activities and political rallies during his impeachment, then he had time to deal with disaster response: The timeline in this tweet is generally correct. Trump was officially impeached on Dec. 19, 2019. It’s not clear exactly when Trump was first alerted about the possibility of a pandemic. The Washington Post reported that U.S. Intelligence officials were warning the president about the potential scale of the coronavirus outbreak as early as January. While we don’t know a specific date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first alert for U.S. clinicians to be “on the look-out for patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of travel to Wuhan, China” on Jan. 8, 2020. About a month after that on Feb. 5, Trump’s impeachment trial ended when the Senate voted not to convict. Before, during, and after the impeachment trial — and after the CDC issued its first warnings — Trump held political rallies and attended several golf outings.

The Republican Senate leader put a provision in the stimulus that expedites FDA approval of a product in his state
By Matthew Chapman

This article originally appeared on Raw Story.

The $2 trillion coronavirus relief stimulus package contains a number of vital provisions to help the American people. But as with most bills of its size and complexity, it is also loaded with small giveaways to help key senators serve special interests in their states. According to Politico, one of the strangest such provisions, relating to sunscreen, appears to be for the benefit of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). "A provision for the FDA to approve 'innovative' sunscreens — that happen to be made in Florence, Ky., by L'Oreal — appeared in the bill, which was steered in the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky," reported Caitlin Emma, Jennifer Scholtes, and Theodoric Meyer.

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Washington (CNN) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday defended the Senate Republicans coming up with a proposed $1 trillion economic stimulus plan to battle the coronavirus without any input from Democrats, saying bipartisan negotiations were skipped in favor of speed. "Actually, it's speeding it up. We just passed yesterday a bill, it was written in the Democratic House of Representatives," McConnell told CNN's Dana Bash in an interview. "The Republicans are in the majority in the Senate. We wanted to put forward our proposal. We feel like we have an obligation to do that as a majority and the Democrats, of course, need to be given an opportunity to react to it and that all begins tomorrow. So don't create controversy where there isn't controversy." The emergency economic aid proposal would include direct payments to Americans under a certain income threshold, $200 billion in loans to airlines and distressed industry sectors and $300 billion in forgivable bridge loans for small businesses. The proposal's formal rollout sets the stage for Republicans and Democrats to try to reach a bipartisan agreement to move a stimulus package forward as the virus continues to spread. When Bash pushed the Kentucky Republican on whether moving forward without Democrats at the start of the process will actually slow the bill's passage, McConnell said, "This is the quickest way to get it done. Trust me, this is the quickest way to get it done, exactly the way we're doing it." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a joint statement, declared the proposal -- as written -- a nonstarter. "We are beginning to review Senator McConnell's proposal and on first reading, it is not at all pro-worker and instead puts corporations way ahead of workers," the statement read.

By Alex Rogers, Sunlen Serfaty and Lauren Fox, CNN

Washington (CNN) Members of Congress who are working to mitigate the spread of coronavirus around the country are as susceptible as anyone to catching the disease. So despite Republican opposition, some Senate Democrats are calling for unprecedented measures like voting away from the chamber floor and conducting committee hearings via Skype. "It's time for the Senate to wake up to the 21st century and make sure we're using technology that allows us to communicate with each other without any danger or risk to public health," Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic whip, said on Tuesday morning. "Let us do it in the context that we are preaching to America." But in a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell essentially killed any notion of the Senate voting from home. "We'll not be doing that," the Kentucky Republican said. He added that there are a number of ways "to avoid getting too many people together," including lengthening the time for a roll call vote. "We will deal with the social distancing issue without fundamentally changing the Senate rules," said McConnell. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the top Republican on the Rules Committee, said there is "no interest in changing the rules" among the Senate's leaders. "We're not going anywhere as long as we feel we can help mitigate the crisis," added Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee. With the coronavirus outbreak shutting down everything from bars to borders, some Democratic senators are wondering why not. Older adults are at higher risk for serious illness from the coronavirus, and the average House member is nearly 58 years old, while the average senator is nearly 63, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report. "You have to take seriously the prospect of if this goes on longer and becomes worse, that we need to be able to keep working as a Senate on a possible package, without all of us being here," said Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat.

By Brendan Cole

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has faced further criticism that he was responsible for delays to legislation aimed at helping families and businesses weather the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. The bipartisan Families First CoronaVirus Response Act will provide a suite of relief measures, including free testing and paid emergency leave for those affected by coronavirus. But McConnell, who tweeted on Sunday that such a package was "urgent," had been criticized for sending senators home for recess and reportedly returned to Kentucky himself before the House passed the bill. McConnell has been lambasted by leading Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was "out of touch," and Sen. Elizabeth Warren told MSNBC that the decision was "absolutely irresponsible."

   Mitch McConnell has wasted four days in the middle of a pandemic. Now Republican Senators are using procedure to cover for him. @SenatorDurbin is right – enough with the excuses. The Senate should do its job. Watch this exchange. pic.twitter.com/kT4w0lbZJk — Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) March 17, 2020

During a Senate session on Monday, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown added to the chorus of criticism, saying that last Thursday "we were supposed to start working on this." "I asked Senator McConnell on this floor, I opened this door… I pointed down the hall and I said 'Senator McConnell should come back here and let's work on this bill.' Whether they are actually finished in the house, down the hall, doing it or not, we should be working on this. "Senator McConnell had to go back to Kentucky. I don't really know what he went back for. We asked him to stay and finish this and negotiate and do it, to take care of stopping this virus, to take care of all the people in my state...to take care of all these people that are losing their jobs and don't know what to do.

By Chantal Da Silva

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing a backlash over his decision to set up two separate votes on anti-abortion bills for this month in a move likely to spark division in an already deeply divided Senate. On Thursday, McConnell arranged votes on a bill seeking to ban abortions after 20 weeks, as well as the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act," which seeks to extend protection to infants born alive after failed attempts at induced abortions. Both bills have so far been unsuccessful in Senate over recent years. However, with a Republican majority, anti-abortion GOP members may be hopeful that the legislation will be pushed through this time, despite opposition from Democrats and and abortion rights advocates. President Donald Trump has previously spoken out in favor of the "born-alive" bill, accusing Democrats of having such an "extreme" position on abortion "that they don't mind executing babies AFTER birth." However, the bill has been widely rejected by abortion rights activists, who say it ignores the fact that infanticide is already a crime and appears aimed at conflating abortion with a wholly different act. While Democrats are generally opposed to the 20-week abortion ban proposal, both Sens. Joe Manchin and Bob Casey have previously given it support. Meanwhile, the plan has not been popular among all Republicans either, with Sen. Susan Collins also previously opposing the bid. Democrats and abortion rights advocates were quick to condemn McConnell's efforts to see both bills brought to a vote, with Sen. Patty Murray, the lead Democrat on the Senate health committee, questioning the senate majority leader's priorities. "The first thing we do is go after women?" Murray asked in an interview with The New York Times. "I find it really offensive. If Senator McConnell really wants to get things done in the Senate and show people he wants to get things done, we have a long list for him." Vanita Gupta, the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights also condemned the decision, imploring Twitter users to "understand what [McConnell] is prioritizing."

By James Crowley

During a television interview, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that 395 bills sitting in the Senate are not going to be passed. On Fox News Friday, anchor Bret Baier asked McConnell if Democrats' statements about those bills were true and whether they could move forward. McConnell confirmed that it was the case, but also said that proposed legislation would be rejected. "It is true," the senator said. "They've been on full left-wing parade over there, trotting out all of their left-wing solutions that are going to be issues in the fall campaign. They're right. We're not going to pass those." McConnell explained that the bills would not get passed, because the government is divided. He said that instead they "have to work on things we can agree," listing government spending, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement, an infrastructure bill, a parks bill and some environmental issues as examples of bills that they may be able to agree on. When asked about a bipartisan infrastructure bill, McConnell said that it may not be a "big" bill, because it would "require dealing with the revenue sources that both sides are nervous about raising the gas tax, which is a regressive tax on low-income people." When asked about legislature regarding prescription drugs, McConnell said that while there are "differences on both sides," there is a chance that the Senate will be able to legislate on the issue.

As an American lawyer who worked for a long time in the UK, I always felt especially proud of our Constitution. This week, I have seen it trampled all over for Donald Trump
By Eric Lewis

As an American lawyer who was educated in the UK and often worked there, I always felt a bit smug about our written Constitution. The UK Constitution seemed a vague tribute to British self-restraint and muddling through. No one could say exactly what it meant and in any event it was  subject to the sovereignty of Parliament so that if the UK stopped electing vague muddlers at any point, the whole structure could be replaced by a runaway, radical system of governance. The US Constitution, by contrast, reflected the best of Eighteenth Century enlightenment thinking about separation and limitation of powers, as well as a strong declaration of the rights of individuals against the power of the state. Life-tenured judges interpreted and applied that Constitution, which no president or Congress could undo absent a cumbersome, super-majoritarian amendment process. Our president had significant powers in foreign affairs, but his function was to execute the laws enacted by Congress, which held the pursestrings and the power to remove the president for wrongdoing.  Every branch had its independent role to play with a reasonable consensus about the limits and guardrails that governed that role. The Constitution is by no means a perfect document — it contemplated slavery, for one thing. But it provided an excellent framework for stable, limited government. As we have learned, the written Constitution is not self-executing. It relies on the good faith of each branch to uphold the integrity of the basic structure of the system. It requires the commitment of the individuals who operate within the constitutional system to preserve its republican structure, even if honoring the rules does not serve a short-term political or policy goal. Without that commitment, we are at grave risk. The thugocracy in the current White House poses such risk, just as the Nixon presidency did. But under Nixon, the House and the Senate stood up for the basic structure of democracy and the rule of law, Republicans and Democrats alike. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Nixon was required to turn over all tapes and evidence, rejecting the proposition Nixon famously articulated that: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal." Four years ago, McConnell showed his willingness to tear down the institutions of the United States for partisan gain when he refused to hold a hearing on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. (Full disclosure: I have known Merrick Garland for decades; he married my wife and me; and he is a friend. But my view of McConnell’s radicalism has nothing to do with Merrick Garland’s many virtues as a judge and as a person.)  Indeed, the Senate has done little else during Trump’s presidency other than confirm an unprecedented number of marginally qualified impeccable Trumpites to lifetime appointments on the federal courts.  McConnell has not only used his power to defeat the Constitutional obligations of the Senate — he has been trying to turn the federal judiciary into just another vote-counting, completely politicized body.

The famed Watergate journalist accused the GOP Senate majority leader of setting a dangerous precedent.
By Lee Moran

Carl Bernstein on Friday lamented “the violence done to the Constitution” by Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after Republican senators voted to block witnesses in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, all but ensuring his acquittal over the Ukraine scandal. McConnell and “his craven Republicans” established a precedent “in which the president of the United States can do almost anything without being held accountable,” the famed Watergate journalist told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

By Marty Johnson

Lev Parnas's attorney penned a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Friday detailing what his testimony would add to the impeachment trial of President Trump, even as the Senate appears prepared to vote down bringing in new witnesses. In the letter, Joseph Bondy tells McConnell that Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, would be able to tell the Senate information that is "directly relevant to the President's impeachment inquiry," specifically regarding Parnas's relationship with Trump and Giuliani as well as his "actions in Ukraine on behalf of the President, as directed by Mr. Giuliani." The three-page correspondence goes into detail about Parnas's actions in Ukraine as well as those who were privy to what he was doing. The contents are similar to what Parnas said in his sit-down interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow two weeks ago. Both the letter and interview indicate that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry and several other officials within the Trump administration were aware of the pressure campaign in Ukraine that is at the center of Trump's impeachment.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) When the Senate impeachment trial began on January 21, two things seemed certain -- or at least very, very likely:
1) There would be witnesses called by both sides.
2) The trial would still be going when President Donald Trump came to Capitol Hill to deliver his State of the Union address two weeks later on February 4.

With Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander's announcement late Thursday night that he would vote against calling witnesses, it now looks very, very likely that not only will there be no witnesses -- the first time that has been the case in a Senate impeachment trial -- but that the entire trial could wrap up by Friday night or early Saturday morning. How? One man: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. From beginning to (what looks like the) end, the Kentucky Republican has carefully -- and quietly -- executed a strategy designed to keep his conference in line on key votes. It began with McConnell's power play earlier this month, announcing that he had 51 votes to move forward with the start of the Senate impeachment trial with no promises made on whether or not witnesses would be called or further documents would be sought. McConnell's opening gambit effectively knee-capped Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had been holding on to the two articles of impeachment passed by the House late last year in hopes of extracting concessions from McConnell. Throughout the intervening two-ish weeks, McConnell has had a decidedly low public profile -- usually only speaking in the Senate chamber to announce when there would be a break in either the opening statements or the question-and-answer period. That lack of a public presence was, of course, by design. The best way to think of McConnell is like a duck -- he appears to be gliding slowly and without seeming effort on the surface, all the while paddling furiously under the surface.

Yes, say Senate Republicans, we know there's evidence that makes Trump’s guilt even clearer. But we will sit as judges to disallow it before we sit as jurors to “exonerate” him.
By Michael Tomasky

Adam Schiff’s closing remarks Thursday night will go down in history. He laid out, with a plain-spoken eloquence, everything that’s at stake here. He’s been impressive the whole way through—I was especially struck on day two by the way he batted down one particular defense of Donald Trump that’s been driving me nuts, the fact that Volodymyr Zelensky said he never felt any pressure from Trump. Well, duh, Schiff said—like the president of a small country wants to antagonize the president of the United States?

But day three, in closing, he was even better. Watch it if you haven’t. He looked to his left—right at Senate Republicans—as he said, “Do we really have any doubt about the facts here? Does anybody really question whether the president is capable of what he’s charged with? No one is really making the argument—Donald Trump would never do such a thing—because of course we know that he would, and of course we know that he did.”

Schumer accused McConnell of "totally, totally, totally going along with Trump’s cover-up, hook, line and sinker."
By Allan Smith

Democrats on Tuesday called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's initial proposal for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial "appalling," a "national disgrace," and "deliberately designed to hide the truth." "This is just appalling," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," adding that McConnell, R-Ky., was seeking to turn the trial into "a farce" and that under this proposal it would be a "national disgrace." The rules were later on Tuesday revised amid pressure from Democrats and some Republicans. Schumer had pledged to offer amendments to change the "most egregious things" McConnell proposed, pleading for four Republicans — the number needed to form a majority — to vote with the Democrats.

Senators have a duty to conduct a fair and full trial. The Republican leader is trying to make sure they can’t.
By Noah Bookbinder

The removal of a sitting president is the last line of defense provided by the framers of the Constitution against the abuse of power by the leader of our country. When senators take an oath to uphold the Constitution, they assume the grave responsibility to conduct a thorough and fair trial on behalf of the American people. Dismissing this process set out in the Constitution, President Trump has called the impeachment process a “scam.” That’s his opinion, of course — but this week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing everything he can to ensure that the Senate trial actually is a scam. An impeachment trial is only meaningful if the American people can have confidence in the fairness of the process; only then will the trial’s verdict be worthy of respect. Mr. McConnell is advocating trial procedures that would undercut any possibility of that.

Americans understand the basic contours of a fair trial: Each side presents relevant evidence, in the form of documents and witnesses. But Mr. McConnell and President Trump’s allies in the Senate appear to think that the president should be allowed to play by his own rules. The impeachment procedural resolution that the Senate adopted early Wednesday morning appears designed to, among other things, prevent either side from introducing testimony and evidence about President Trump’s alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

Washington (CNN) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's supporting a resolution to dismiss the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump a "cover up." "The dismissing is a cover-up. Dismissing is a cover-up," Pelosi said during an interview on ABC's "This Week." "If they want to go that route, again the senators who are thinking now about voting for witnesses or not, they will have to be accountable for not having a fair trial." McConnell signed onto a resolution from Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri last week to allow for the dismissal of the obstruction of Congress and abuse of power charges against Trump because Pelosi has not yet transferred the articles to the Senate for a trial. Republicans don't have the votes to dismiss the articles. The California Democrat, who has so far withheld the articles as congressional leadership disagree on the shape of trial procedures, said in a letter to her caucus on Friday she was prepared to send the articles of impeachment this week.

By Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly, CNN

(CNN) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he has the votes to set the ground rules of the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump -- without Democrats' support. McConnell first made the remarks during a closed-door lunch with his fellow Republican senators on Capitol Hill, an official in the room told CNN, before McConnell made the announcement publicly during a news conference following the lunch. McConnell made clear he had no plans to move forward on a trial until the two articles of impeachment are sent to the Senate, as he has said publicly.

"We have the votes once the impeachment trial has begun to pass a resolution essentially the same, very similar to the 100-to-nothing vote in the Clinton trial, which sets up what's best described as a phase one," McConnell said Tuesday. All McConnell needs is 51 senators -- or a simple majority of the 100-member chamber -- to vote to approve those ground rules. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah have said they back the leader's approach. This is different than the Senate trial for then-President Bill Clinton in 1999, when the ground rules were set by a 100-0 vote. This time it will likely be approved on a party-line vote.

Democrats want a deal up front to hear from witnesses and get documents, but McConnell says those matters should be dealt with later after opening statements. Republicans won't act until they get the two articles of impeachment from the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has held on to them since they were voted on in the House in December. "It continues to be my hope that the speaker will send them on over," McConnell said Tuesday at his news conference.

The president’s calling the shots for the majority leader now, and it’s not going well.
By Margaret Carlson

The first crack in Donald Trump’s red wall came on Christmas Eve when not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, except for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who said she was “disturbed” by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise of “total coordination” with Donald Trump in his impeachment trial in the Senate. “It’s wrong to pre-judge,” she said of McConnell working “hand-in-glove” with Trump.

Straightforward and conscientious, so press-reluctant her name auto-corrects to “Murrow skis,” the daughter of a former governor breaking publicly with McConnell is like her donning a lampshade and popping open the Champagne on New Year’s Eve. When she opposed the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, rather than dramatize her struggle—by contrast to Sen. Susan Collins, who went on about how hard it all was but finally voted as Trump told her to—Murkowski voted “present.” It didn’t change the outcome—Kavanaugh’s approval was in the bag—but by going against Trump and McConnell she stayed true to her conscience, something the rest of her caucus lost in 2016, bearing out Sen. Lindsey Graham’s warning to his party that, by nominating Trump, “We will get destroyed… and we will deserve it.”  

Murkowski wouldn’t have gone so far as to be “disturbed” had McConnell not committed one of the few mistakes of his political life in no longer simply doing everything Trump tells him to do, but doing it the way Trump tells him to. McConnell, left to his own devices, wouldn’t have revealed that “Everything I do during this [trial] I’m coordinating with White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position.”

Kevin Liptak-Profile-Image
By Kevin Liptak and Manu Raju, CNN

Washington (CNN) Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she is "disturbed" by coordination between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House over the upcoming Senate impeachment trial. Senate leaders have yet to reach an agreement on the rules of the trial, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not sent the Senate the impeachment articles necessary to begin the proceedings. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for the Senate to pursue witnesses and documents, which McConnell opposes, leading to a holiday impasse and uncertainty as to when the trial will begin. But Murkowski said McConnell had "confused the process" by saying he was acting in "total coordination" with the White House on setting the parameters for the trial. "And in fairness, when I heard that, I was disturbed," Murkowski told KTUU, a CNN affiliate.

"To me, it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense, and so I heard what Leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that that has further confused the process," she went on. Murkowski's comments are notable because in the wake of House Republicans' unanimous vote last week to oppose the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Senate Republicans have given no public indication that there is any dissent among their ranks. As a moderate, Murkowski, who opposed Justice Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, will be closely watched during the upcoming trial, and she told KTUU she is undecided as to how she'll vote.

By Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is responsible for his colleagues’ apparent lack of enthusiasm about his bipartisan bill to lower drug prices. When asked by reporters during a briefing why more Senate Republicans haven’t supported the legislation, the Senate Finance Committee chairman said because McConnell “asked them not to.”

“The president wants it!” Grassley said, according to a recording of the briefing. Grassley and McConnell have reportedly been at odds over the bipartisan measure, which has support from President Donald Trump and many Senate Democrats.

By Ariane de Vogue, Ted Barrett and Dan Berman, CNN

Washington (CNN) While the rest of Washington focused on impeachment proceedings Wednesday, Mitch McConnell successfully pressed forward on a subject that has been the one knockout success for the Republican Senate and President Donald Trump: judges. Wednesday afternoon, the Senate majority leader forced a deal with Democrats to expedite 11 federal district judge nominations. McConnell's thrust is emblematic of what he sees as his crowning achievement. So far, he has led the charge changing the landscape of the federal courts across the country with a record number of appellate court judges -- currently at 50 -- and Supreme Court nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. "My motto for the remainder of this Congress is 'leave no vacancy behind,'" McConnell told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday.

McConnell had scheduled procedural votes on nominees coming roughly every two hours. Two votes were held Wednesday before the agreement was reached to speed things along with 11 consecutive votes in the late afternoon. Final votes to confirm the nominees have not yet been scheduled. The threat of keeping senators in extra days or through the weekend is a tactic as old as time, but nevertheless usually yields results. Previous deals cutting short debate and allowing nominees to be approved so senators can go home for recess have been met with liberal unhappiness, however. Two deals reached last year allowed senators to return home to their states during the middle of the re-election campaign, but in the end it was Democratic incumbents who lost, giving the Republicans the stronger 53-47 majority they enjoy today. - McConnell stole Obama supreme court pick and now is stacking the courts with rightwing judges who are not qualified for the job.

By Blake Dodge

U.S. Senators are sharing photographs of the growing pile of bills passed by the House only to stymie on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's desk. The stack, a symbolic replication of legislation McConnell refuses to bring to a vote, was reportedly the brain child of Senator Debbie Stabenow. According to her office, it includes more than 300 bills about voter registration, background checks for firearm sales, domestic violence, climate change, minimum wage increases and other issues.

The do-nothing strategy spearheaded by McConnell's office seems intentional, Democrats claim. Back in September, McConnell promised to be a "grim reaper" to any and all progressive legislation. But, as multiple Senators pointed out Wednesday, more than 275 of these "dead" bills cleared the House with bipartisan support.

In a press conference meant to highlight the "legislative graveyard" Tuesday morning, Stabenow said that the American people expect Congress to pass legislation "that will improve their lives and improve the lives of their families." "Unfortunately, though, that is not what's happening because the Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard," she added.

by Kelsey Snell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed the impeachment process against President Trump as a political proceeding rather than a judicial one.

"I'm not an impartial juror. This is a political process. There's not anything judicial about it," McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. "The House made a partisan political decision to impeach. I would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate. I'm not impartial about this at all."

The House could vote as early as Wednesday to impeach Trump on charges that he obstructed Congress and abused power. Whether Trump conditioned aid to Ukraine to a Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens is at the heart of the impeachment proceedings against the president. Trump has denied any such link was made, and in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump compared his impending impeachment to "subverting American's democracy."

By Ted Barrett, CNN

(CNN) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday rejected calls from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to allow witnesses at an expected Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. "We don't create impeachments," he said in remarks prepared for delivery on the Senate floor. "We judge them." "The House chose this road. It is their duty to investigate. It is their duty to meet the very high bar for undoing a national election," McConnell said. "If they fail, they fail. It is not the Senate's job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to "get to 'guilty.' That would hardly be impartial justice."

By Clare Foran and Ali Zaslav, CNN

Washington (CNN) Some Democrats are raising concerns about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's statement that he will coordinate closely with the White House on the looming Senate impeachment trial, with one House Democrat saying the Kentucky Republican should recuse himself entirely. "He's working hand in hand with the White House, with the President's attorney, and yet we're supposed to expect him to manage a fair and impartial trial?" said Florida Democratic Rep. Val Demings when asked about McConnell's remarks. "I think he should recuse himself."

Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington called the coordination "ridiculous." "I think it is outrageous for the chief juror who is organizing the trial to be coordinating with the defendant," Jayapal told reporters. Under the Constitution, it's up to the House to charge the President with impeachment, and the Senate to convict or acquit -- making senators, including McConnell, the de facto jury.

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday approved articles of impeachment against the President, paving the way for the final floor vote expected next week. That will set up the Senate trial, for which senators are now gearing up. Democrats wield majority control in the House, but Republicans hold a majority in the Senate. Some Senate Republicans have been careful not to tip their hands ahead of the expected trial, but many have been vocal in saying that they do not believe the Ukraine scandal rises to the level of impeachment. McConnell himself said on Fox News on Thursday, "We all know how it's going to end. There is no chance the President is going to be removed from office."

By Greg Sargent Opinion writer

It has often been observed that one of President Trump’s biggest allies in the impeachment battle is Fox News — that if Richard Nixon had enjoyed the benefit of such a powerful purveyor of propaganda, he wouldn’t have been driven from office. You could not ask for a clearer indication of this than the interview that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just gave to Sean Hannity about Trump’s coming trial.

The interview showcases how Trump’s propagandists have succeeded in creating a universe that is as hermetically sealed off from this scandal’s widely and firmly established set of facts as one half of a divided cell is from the other. In this universe, it’s simultaneously the case that everything Trump said on his corrupt call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was absolutely fine and that the key elements of Trump’s pressure on Zelensky simply never happened.

And in this universe, it’s not just fully understood that Trump’s acquittal is assured in advance and that the trial will be gamed to Trump’s maximum benefit. It’s also understood that this is how it should be. Indeed, the interview appears designed to reassure audiences of all this.

That was plainly evident in McConnell’s quotes about how this process will unfold. As McConnell said:

Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.

McConnell also said:

We’ll be working through this process ... in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people representing the president in the well of the Senate.

Many have sharply criticized McConnell for telegraphing that the trial will be gamed in advance to assure Trump’s acquittal and to make it as politically painless as possible. - Mitch McConnell is violating his oath of office it is to the constitution not to Trump.

By Savannah Behrmann USA TODAY

WASHINGTON- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday that he will be in "total coordination with the White House counsel" as the impeachment into President Donald Trump presses forward.

During an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, the Majority Leader said that "everything" he does "during this, I'm coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this, to the extent that we can."

"We don't have the kind of ball control on this that a typical issue, for example, comes over from the House, if I don't like it, we don't take it up," McConnell stated about an impeachment trial. "We have no choice but to take it up, but we'll be working through this process, hopefully in a fairly short period of time, in total coordination with White House counsel's office and the people who are representing the President in the well of the Senate." - Mitch McConnell and Republican do not give a shit about our laws or the constitution only power. Americans need to vote out the corrupt republicans before they do any more damage to our country.

In an interview on Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said there was "no chance" President Trump would be removed from office after an impeachment trial in the Senate. - Mitch McConnell and Republican do not give a shit about our laws or the constitution only power. Americans need to vote out the corrupt republicans before they do any more damage to our country.

“My hope is there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment,” the Senate majority leader said.
By Nick Visser

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that he didn’t believe any Republicans in the Senate planned to vote to remove President Donald Trump from office should the House impeach him next week, saying he even expected some Democrats to side with GOP lawmakers.

“There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office,” McConnell told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday evening. “My hope is there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment. And Sean, it wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats.” - Mitch McConnell and Republican do not give a shit about our laws or the constitution only power. Americans need to vote out the corrupt republicans before they do any more damage to our country.

By Greg Sargent

If Mitch McConnell goes through with his reported plan to hold a sham impeachment trial that acquits President Trump without calling witnesses, it will provide the perfect coda for the corrupt and farcical way Trump’s defenders have handled this saga all throughout.

In so doing, the Senate majority leader and other assorted Trump propagandists will be unabashedly enshrining their position as follows: We’ve already decided in advance that the full facts will not persuade us to turn on Trump, no matter how damning they are, so why should we listen to them at all?

This is how Trump’s defenders actually view the situation — and the awful implications of this should not be sugar-coated.

Yet the scheme may not prove as easy to get away with as they think. Handled properly, Democrats can use it to demonstrate that Republicans themselves know Trump’s substantive defenses are weak and his corruption is indefensible — and vividly show how Republicans are functioning as Trump’s full-blown accomplices.

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

Washington (CNN) Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican lawmakers for not reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and taking action against gun violence, asking them in emotional remarks to choose between the nation's foremost gun lobby and "the children that are getting gunned down in this country every single day."

Acevedo made his remarks to reporters Monday as the Houston Police Department prepared to escort the body of Sgt. Chris Brewster, an officer who died in the line of duty, to a funeral home. The 32-year-old was shot and killed while responding to a call with a team on Saturday. "I don't want to hear about how much they support law enforcement," Acevedo said.

"I don't want to hear about how much they care about lives and the sanctity of lives yet, we all know in law enforcement that one of the biggest reasons that the Senate and Mitch McConnell and (Texas Sens.) John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and others are not getting into a room and having a conference committee with the House and getting the Violence Against Women's Act (passed) is because the NRA doesn't like the fact that we want to take firearms out of the hands of boyfriends that abuse their girlfriends. And who killed our sergeant? A boyfriend abusing his girlfriend. So you're either here for women and children and our daughters and our sisters and our aunts, or you're here for the (National Rifle Association)."

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