Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), facing a tough re-election battle with astronaut Mark Kelly in November, exploded into the headlines on Thursday after she called CNN correspondent Manu Raju a "liberal hack" for asking whether she will consider evidence at the impeachment trial.
Writing for the Washington Post, colulmnist Greg Sargent slammed McSally for attempting to use this outburst to gin up political capital.
"There’s been talk that McSally staged the episode to excite the Republican base. And indeed, Republicans are already using it to raise money for her reelection campaign, in which McSally is very vulnerable," wrote Sargent. "But, whether or not this was a setup, McSally is now treating this as something that will give her a political boost, which is just beyond pathetic."
"Note that it is now seen as 'liberal' to merely ask a Republican senator whether she feels any obligation to consider the full set of facts before exercising her constitutional duty to vote on whether articles of impeachment — passed by the elected representatives in the other chamber of Congress — merit removal," wrote Sargent. "What’s seen as 'liberal' here, plainly, is that this question should be asked of Republican senators at all."
"Look at the larger context here," continued Sargent. "Senate Republicans ... are already laying the groundwork to vote against hearing new witnesses and evidence at that point, while pretending they did so as part of a fair process in which they genuinely weighed the case against Trump delivered during those opening statements. This is getting harder by the minute, because the passage of time keeps serving up astounding new revelations. We’ve learned that concerns about the legality of the freeze on military aid ran far deeper inside the administration than we knew. We’ve also learned that Lev Parnas, once a part of Trump’s Ukraine scheme, is now claiming, among other things, that Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani told him to tell Ukraine that the aid was conditioned on doing Trump’s bidding, after discussing it with Trump — a possible criminal conspiracy."
"Trump’s GOP defenders in the Senate continue to pretend that none of this is incriminating, and that it doesn’t oblige them in the least to hear from the most direct witnesses to Trump’s motives in freezing that money," wrote Sargent. "Indeed, McSally was snidely brushing off a reporter who dared to ask whether, in light of all this new information, senators have any such obligation. This cannot be squared with impartiality, as much as senators (almost certainly including McSally) who vote against new witnesses and evidence will try to maintain the contrary. McSally’s outburst usefully ripped off the mask and dispensed with the pretense otherwise."
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