Siding with Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump’s spokesperson, McConnell told America from the floor of the Senate that he sees no reason to assign an independent special prosecutor or create a bipartisan committee to get to the bottom of Trump’s relationship to Russia.
JUST NOW: McConnell says new investigation will only impede current work on Russia investigations.
(so no special prosecutor or committee)
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) May 10, 2017
McConnell was rebuffing Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s renewed call for an independent investigator.
“I have said from the get-go that I think a special prosecutor is the way to go, but now with what’s happened it is the only way to go,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday.
Instead, McConnell said he would leave that up to the FBI — and let Jeff Sessions handpick Comey’s “interim” (read: non-confirmed) FBI head, something that is not standard procedure.
News: AG Sessions & Deputy AG Rosenstein interviewing potential interim FBI directors today, according to a DOJ official (@LauraAJarrett)
— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) May 10, 2017
Another deeply disturbing sign–they need a handpicked interim Director? Why is the default, Andy McCabe, not sufficient? https://t.co/92pagYV5e7
— Ned Price (@nedprice) May 10, 2017
By picking the next FBI director outside of the typical process – and circumventing a confirmation hearing – the White House hopes to get an ally in the middle of the investigation – another strong motive for firing Comey in the first place. Even if a full-time replacement eventually comes along, the dysfunction and partisanship created in this scenario could make the entire case dissolve. If you were a witness who knew of criminal wrongdoing from someone on Trump’s team and you just watched the FBI director get fired and replaced by someone handpicked by Trump’s close friend would you want to come forward? It’s clear Trump sure hopes not.
McConnell is enabling all of this. As usual. In a show of loyalty to the president, McConnell slammed Democrats who had called for an independent investigation and instead went on a lengthy rant about Obamacare and what he thought of as “Democratic hypocrisy.”
Senator McConnell has decided to side with the White House in their spin that they fired Director Comey as a favor to Democrats.
— Matt House (@mattwhouse) May 10, 2017
In a moment where the country can be said to be facing a real constitutional crisis, McConnell is choosing to smear his Democratic enemies and stand with undemocratic strongarm tactics from a president. It was a disgusting display of partisanship in the face of an unprecedented move by a sitting president to silence his critics and kill an investigation into his own wrongdoing. Having watched McConnell spend a decade refining the art of obstruction, it appears that this final act of obstruction of justice will be his masterpiece.
Featured image via Aaron P. Bernstei /Stringer via Getty Images