What's Tony Thinking

Honest Mitch McConnell


I know, I know, “honest” is not the word that jumps to mind when you think of Mitch McConnell. I like “Moscow Mitch” better. A sobriquet he earned for his refusal to allow legislation to protect future elections from Russian interference to go anywhere.

But hear me out. McConnell’s proposed “rules” for the current impeachment trial, ruled out existing evidence as well as the calling of  additional witnesses. An odd sort of trial by most standards. Moreover, everything would be said and done by the weekend. I mean, there’s golf to be played, right? Still, under pressure from a small group of Republican “moderates” Mitch loosened his rules some.

But the proposed rules were essentially honest. How so? Because McConnell and the Republicans needed no evidence, needed hear no witnesses as their minds were already made up. They were not going to remove Donald Trump from office. Period. Moreover, Honest Mitch had told us this well before his proposed rules of the road came down the pike.

McConnell’s position and that of the Republicans is essentially this: “Yes, he did it. He tried to shake Zelensky down. Certainly, it was stupid.  Probably, it was wrong. But, hell, politics is a dirty business. And we just don’t care.” As Mulvaney said back in October, “Get over it.”

So by proposing a trial that was no trial, with arguments jammed into two days, with no evidence from the House introduced, and no further witnesses called (even if John Bolton is off-stage, all but shouting “me,” “call on me!”) it doesn’t matter.

Republican minds are made up. We’re not going to convict so why bother with evidence, let alone additional evidence or further testimony? About this Moscow Mitch was/ is a veritable Honest Abe.

The Republicans don’t really have a defense. It’s amply clear, even from the transcript of Trump’s July 25 “perfect” phone call that he tried to get the Ukrainians to do his bidding to smear and take out rival, Joe Biden.

But the Republicans aren’t going to take Trump out. Thus no need for testimony, evidence, argument, or witnesses. Mitch’s ample waddle isn’t hiding a thing. He is, on this one, all-too-transparent.

Is it too much to hope for some monkey wrench in the works? Like a sudden deal that allows Bolton to testify as a quid pro quo for Hunter Biden also appearing? Or Bolton calling his own press conference? Or the small group of Republican “moderates” to grow to a large enough group to tip things? Or John Roberts doing something more than saying, “Now, boys and girls, behave yourselves!”

One can hope for a miracle.

But in the meantime, Mitch McConnell has told the truth: whatever happened, it doesn’t matter.

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