Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is used to wielding enormous power.
With a position that allows him to stymie any legislation before Congress and prevent it from even being debated by lawmakers in the Senate as well as enabling him to derail the consideration of Supreme Court nominees without constitutional justification, McConnell has exercised his power with an obstinate arrogance that has ensured the failure of Congress to pass any major bills that he does not personally approve of.
With such seemingly absolute power at his disposal, at least within the confines of the Senate, McConnell’s attempt at willing away the consequences of the report submitted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller by declaring “Case closed!” from his podium in the Senate shows that the Majority Leader may have finally taken on a challenge that exceeds his ability to influence the outcome of the matter in question.
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Now that Republicans only control one chamber of Congress, McConnell has no way to prevent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from moving forward with a full agenda of oversight of the Trump administration including following up on the misdeeds and obstruction revealed in the Mueller report.
Speaker Pelosi’s response to the Majority Leader’s unilateral declaration concerning the Mueller investigation was succinct.
“The case is not closed,” Pelosi contradicted McConnell. “That’s just not a fact,” she continued, as if the Majority Leader or any other Republican would acknowledge reality if it hit them in the face.
Noted conservative Republican Washington attorney George Conway, the notoriously anti-Trump husband of White House Senior advisor Kellyanne Conway, tried to explain to Majority Leader McConnell the grave error he is making by acting as President Trump’s defender in his battle with Congress.
… and, thus, ultimately, whether or not he complied with his oath and his obligations under the Constitution. And so, too, if you choose to ignore it, the matter becomes a question of whether you and your colleagues have complied with your solemn duties as well.
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) May 7, 2019
Conway correctly sees the current battle between Trump and the Democratic-controlled House committees investigating his actions as a constitutional crisis of monumental importance.
By questioning whether the Majority Leader is properly fulfilling his own oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” George Conway is throwing down a gauntlet to McConnell and telling him to choose between being a slimy Trumpian toady willing to ignore the rule of law or living up to the basic mission of his elected position.
Conway’s invocation of the Senator’s oath of office lays bare the risk McConnell is taking in continuing to play games on Trump’s behalf — the chance that by enabling the president’s obstruction of justice, the Majority Leader making himself liable to obstruction charges of his own.
While it is unlikely that McConnell will suffer the consequences of the conviction or impeachment that his behavior is inviting given the Republican control of his chamber, his behavior has been noted by the electorate in his home state of Kentucky where his poll numbers have reached record lows in advance of his 2020 re-election bid.
If shame won’t move the Majority Leader, perhaps the threat of losing all that power will. Unless, of course, the truth is that he is so personally enmeshed in the misdeeds of the Trump administration that he dare not make any move to upset the carefully planned coverup.
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