Media touts McConnell's impeachment cover-up as being super savvy

Orchestrating a show trial draws press praise

Orchestrating a show trial unlike any other in American political history, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is scrambling to protect Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP from a damaging proceeding this week. Not only intent on shutting down meaningful debate by cutting off access to evidence and witnesses, the Republican Party has instituted brand new restrictions on the press during the trail, designed to protect Republican senators from having to answer simple queries.

Just as they refused to acknowledge nominated Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, McConnell's Republican Party is tearing up decades of protocol and tradition in order to protect its political standing.

But instead of standing up to the radical proceedings and pointing out the lies that prop it up, too many in the press are either sugar coating the events, or even touting McConnell's move as a success, suggesting he's outsmarted Democrats by effectively staging a sham trial.

"McConnell Impeachment Rules Modify Clinton Precedent," read the a New York Times headline, which drastically underplayed what was happening prior to the trial as Republicans angled for an advantage. A more accurate Times headline would have read, "McConnell Impeachment Rules Shred Clinton Precedent."

"It sure looks like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is going to ram through an incredibly speedy impeachment trial," NBC stressed on Tuesday. "If McConnell gets his way Democrats might have only themselves to blame." The piece went onto suggest that because Democrats hadn't spent millions of dollars airing impeachment ads in states that vulnerable GOP senators represent — Cory Gardner (CO), Martha McSally (AZ),  Susan Collins (ME), and Joni Ernst (IA) — Democrats are to blame for Republicans' extremist strategy to limit the impeachment trial. That seems like an overly friendly interpretation for the GOP.

The news angle also rests on the utterly false premise that if just the right pressure were applied to Republicans, or just the right evidence were introduced, they would act in good faith and hold Trump accountable. But we know that's categorically false because Republicans in the Senate have specifically moved to black key evidence from being used in the impeachment trial — they blocked to allow evidence from an associate of Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, who said on national television that Trump knew all about their schemes to push the president of Ukraine into announcing a sham investigation of the Biden. And Republicans blocked use of the Government Accountability Office report released this week which found that the administration’s withholding of aid to Ukraine if the government didn't launch a bogus corruption investigation into Joe Biden and his family was a violation of federal law.

Unless reporters have been sleep walking since impeachment erupted last September, they would know the idea that Republicans under Trump might suddenly have a collective moment of clarity isn't going to happen. And it's silly to blame Democrats for that not happening.

Yet the media fairytale about the GOP persists. A recent Politico piece suggested a solution for the impeachment "morass":

Working with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House managers, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate should agree on a compromise that suspends the trial so Congress can produce meaningful bipartisan legislation to make clear that it’s illegal, going forward, for any president to use foreign governments to meddle in U.S. elections—something President Donald Trump attempted when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate political rival Joe Biden in exchange for foreign aid.

Also, unicorns.

I mean, to this day the Republican Party will not back legislation that makes sure Russian hackers can't attack our elections. Who on earth thinks today's GOP would join hands with Democrats to admonish Trump by outlawing foreign interference, like the kind he suggested Ukraine undertake?

Still, over and over we see journalists touting Republican impeachment obstruction as a win.

On the eve of the trial CNN's Chris Cillizza announced that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had "lost" in her strategy to slightly delay sending the impeachment indictments to the Senate because McConnell had effectively outmaneuver her. Watching McConnell openly brag about how he was coordinating with the White House to make sure his actions perfectly resembled Trump's defense, and after watching Republicans strain mightily to make sure key evidence and witnesses were banned from being seen and heard, it's amazing journalists would look at that troubling pattern of secrecy and deceit and declare that the person orchestrating the cover-up was the winner.

And yet…..after McConnell crafted the Senate trial cover-up rules in secret and then had to back track slightly when even some Republicans began privately complaining about the lack of witnesses, the New York Times marveled at McConnell's "mastery" and how "astute" he was in dealing with impeachment.  

You can’t make this stuff up, folks.