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Mitch McConnell Has to Go

The Senate Leader Has Abused the Power of His Office

Credit: Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune, UT

The Republican Party has “three blind mice,” blind to their Constitutional oaths and duties: Donald Trump, William Barr, and Mitch McConnell. All three should be impeached. This column has previously argued for the impeachment of both Trump and Barr. As for McConnell, while the Constitution allows for it, I realize that will never happen.

Nevertheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has violated his oath and abused the power invested in his office. His Democratic opponent should be supported when the Kentuckian runs for reelection in 2020. While we are all getting an education about the frightening power of the Office of President by watching Donald Trump, it is essential we likewise understand the enormous power other offices, like Senate Majority Leader (and Attorney General), invest in a single individual.

The Constitution requires that the office of Senate Majority Leader initiate the process of “advice and consent” of the administration’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice. This is not optional. It is an integral part of performing that office’s oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Subsequent to the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama, in the last year of his presidency, nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the High Court. Rather than adhere to his oath of office, McConnell said: no hearing within the last year of a presidency. His rationale, completely outside of the dictates of the Constitution: “The American people should have a say in the court’s direction.” When recently asked what he would do if the Supreme Court has another vacancy within the last year of Trump’s first term, his response: “I’d fill it.”

Being an elected official, especially a high elected official with a lot of power, is not a team sport. It’s a solemn oath sworn to follow the rule of law. When Mitch McConnell said that his sole obligation as the Republican Majority Leader was to ensure that Barrack Obama was a one-term president, rather than do the people’s business, he became a leader who put his tribe ahead of his oath of office. He continues to do that.

In the wake of the Mueller Report, which clearly details Russia’s intervention in our 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump, McConnell pronounced: “case closed [in the Senate], let’s move on.” He then proceeded to endorse an investigation into the investigators who began what became the Mueller Report, while not allowing legislation designed to counter another Russian attack in 2020 to be voted on in the Senate.

The Democratic-controlled House has passed several election security and foreign interference bills. Senator McConnell’s response: “I’m the Grim Reaper [of House passed legislation].” Even when Republican Senators joined with Democrats to co-sponsor legislation designed to shore up voting machines, making it harder for foreign governments to hack, leak, and manipulate social media in 2020, he has refused to allow votes in the Senate.

Our intelligence agencies have warned that Russia will again attack our election in 2020. Our president said he would accept information on his opponents from a foreign government: an illegal act. So, you have to ask, why would Mitch not rally behind the need to protect the country from more foreign interference in our electoral process?

McConnell is up for reelection in 2020. He is only three points ahead of a generic Democratic opponent, with more than 60 percent of Kentucky voters saying: “It’s time for someone new to represent the state.” The leader of the Senate should follow the Constitution. He should also be protecting us from foreign interference in our elections. His failure to do so requires that he be removed from office.

In this time of blatant abuse of power, constituency has become a national concept. McConnell’s abuse of power impacts all of us. Our response should be supporting his 2020 opponent with: donations, phone banking, letter writing; and, if possible, on the ground canvassing. The stakes are just too high to be a spectator.

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