McConnell's impeachment collusion admission handed the Democrats a powerful new weapon to damage the president
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (screengrab)

Mitch McConnell's admission on Fox News that he is working behind the scenes with the White House to stack the Senate impeachment trial gives Democrats a potent weapon against the GOP, wrote Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman in the Washington Post.

"If Democrats play their procedural cards right, they can pressure Republicans to allow for a much fairer and more open trial that could actually produce new revelations — and if they refuse, extract a political price for it," they wrote.

"By telling Sean Hannity that the process of Trump’s trial will be set up 'in coordination with Trump’s legal team,' McConnell told the world he wants to rig the process to produce maximal benefit for Trump," they explained. "But McConnell might not actually be able to do this, if he doesn’t have 51 GOP votes for it — which could be the case, if vulnerable GOP senators don’t want to go along with it. And that allows Democrats to make a public case for a much fairer and more open process — and to try to force those vulnerable GOP senators to take a stand on whether they, too, want a fair and open process."

For example, they can demand the administration produce documents and witnesses that the Trump administration has refused to allow in the House, and lean on vulnerable Republicans like Susan Collins (R-ME) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) to take their side by holding McConnell's words over their head. And if they refuse, it will be a potent weapon in campaign ads.

"Democrats can seize on McConnell’s sneering proclamation that he’ll turn the trial into a massive coverup (which he may not even be able to do) to press for a process that could do the opposite — allow for a full airing out of aspects of this scandal that the White House has tried to keep buried," they concluded. "And that might not be so easy for vulnerable GOP senators to resist."

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