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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell amid impeachment battle: ‘I’m the 2nd most despised Republican’

  • December 25, 2019

As Democrats and Republicans engage in a standoff over the details of the pending Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he is a “big target” for the 2020 election. 

“I’m the second most despised Republican in America by the political left,” McConnell told “Fox and Friends” on Monday. “They’re sending a lot of money to my opponent. And I’ll have a spirited race.”

Democrats are urging McConnell to work out a deal for what they see as a fair trial in the Senate. The Kentucky senator has opposed requests from Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to call top Trump aides to testify as witnesses and signaled that the Senate might not want to call any witnesses. But, he said Monday, “we haven’t ruled out witnesses.”

Senate Republicans are pushing for a quick trial, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has indicated she might hold off on sending the articles of impeachment passed by the House to the Senate until terms of the trial are made clear.

“She apparently believes that she can tell us how to run the trial,” McConnell said.

Impeachment showdown:As Trump trial looms, Nancy Pelosi and GOP spar over next steps

McConnell has said he does not plan to be an impartial juror in the Senate trial and has noted he is working closely with the White House on the procedures.

“I would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate. I’m not impartial about this at all,” McConnell said earlier this month.

Responding to criticism for those remarks, McConnell said on “Fox and Friends” that Sens. Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are not impartial either. Warren and Sanders are running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

“Let’s quit the charade,” McConnell said. “This is a political exercise.”

McConnell repeated what Trump and allies have said about impeachment in the past: Why not let the voters decide whether Trump should remain in office?

“We all know how this is going to end. The American people, if they think this is a very significant episode, can take it into account,” McConnell said. “I mean, most people I run into, whether they’re fans of the president or not, say, ‘Well, why don’t you just let us decide? We’re in the middle of the election.'”

McConnell:‘As of today, we remain at an impasse’ on trial procedures

McConnell’s front-running Democratic opponent, Amy McGrath, has raised significant money since the start of her campaign in July. 

“Well, I don’t know how close it’ll be. We’ll find out. But look, I’m a big target,” McConnell said.

Polling in the third quarter of 2019 by survey research company Morning Consult found that McConnell is the most unpopular senator in the country, with a 50% disapproval rating.

“I don’t own this seat. I have to go out and earn it,” McConnell said. “I’m the only one of the four congressional leaders not from New York or California. I’m in a very good position to look out for Middle America and Kentucky.”

The House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, mostly along party lines. The Republican-led Senate seems unlikely to convict Trump and remove him from office.

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