CBS Frets Over Biased Mitch McConnell, Delighted in Kamala Harris's Partiality

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CBS journalists want the Senators in the coming impeachment trial to be impartial and unbiased. Except when they don’t care about that. On Wednesday, This Morning co-host Tony Dokoupil hammered Mitch McConnell for having already made a decision against impeachment. Talking to CBS News legal analyst Kim Wehle, he demanded, “The Senate rules for impeachment say, ‘I do solemnly swear,’ this is the oath that each senator takes.” 

Dokoupil continued the lecture: “‘I do solemnly swear that in all things pertaining to the trial of the impeachment of blank, I will do impartial justice.’ That is the oath. Yet we have Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell saying publicly he's not impartial. Can you square those two things for me?” 

 

 

Quite the indictment. Except CBS This Morning didn’t care when Kamala Harris wasn’t impartial. On November 7, Alex Wagner interviewed Kamala Harris and sympathized , “You're going to have to sit silently as a juror. Have you thought about the sort of psychology of that?” After Harris laughed and said, “Yeah, I’ve thought about my own psychology,” Wagner joined in: “In the meantime, you're going to practice self-discipline?” 

No mention of the fact that Harris, who will take the same oath as McConnell, made her decision to convict the President back in October.

On Wednesday, fellow CBS guest Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, attacked the case for impeachment: 

The problem I have is that judging on how they define the two articles, you could impeach every living president on this type of allegations. The most troubling for me is obstruction of Congress. They set an abbreviated period for investigation, arguably the shortest investigation of any presidential impeachment, depending on how you count the [Andrew] Johnson impeachment days.

Then they said, “If you don't turn over the evidence during that period, you're obstructing Congress.” Well, President Trump went to court to challenge the necessity of handing over that material. Both Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon were allowed to go all the way to the Supreme Court where they ultimately lost. Nixon resigned soon afterwards. My concern is that this —  there really does seem like you are making an appeal to the court into a high crime or misdemeanor. 

Dokoupil couldn’t let this go without offering the Democratic talking points: “We should point out that Democrats say they have to go at this pace with impeachment because there is an election coming and the court system would take a long time, the abuse of power charge could influence this vote. That's what their timetable response.” 

A transcript of the segment is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

CBS This Morning
12/18/19
8:03

TONY DOKOUPIL: CBS News legal analyst Jonathan Turley and Kim Wehle join us from Washington. Jonathan testified at the request of House Republicans during a Judiciary Committee hearing on the legal standard for impeach. Good morning to both of you. Kim, I want to start with you. I'm hoping that you can clarify something perplexing for me here. The Senate rules for impeachment say, "I do solemnly swear," this is the oath that each senator takes, "I do solemnly swear that in all things pertaining to the trial of the impeachment of blank, I will do impartial justice." That is the oath. Yet we have Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell saying publicly he's not impartial. Can you square those two things for me? 

KIM WEHLE (CBS legal analyst): Right. It's very difficult. He's also said this is really about Republicans versus Democrats being on team red versus team blue. But it really is about the scope of the Constitution, whether there are guardrails that are going to be enforced for the office of the presidency. You think about Simone Biles going to the Olympics, and it's already been predetermined how hard she worked, no matter what she does, she will not win the medal. That's basically what the Senate Majority Leader is saying here. And we have to remember the impeachment process is about the office of the presidency, not about the man. It's easy to get caught up in Mr. Trump personally. But going forward, we have to think about what this does to the scope of power that we are handing off to future presidents and future generations. And that's what makes his comments, I think, so troubling. 

GAYLE KING: What impact do you think, Jonathan, this could have on future presidents? Picking up on Kim's point. 

JONATHAN TURLEY: Well, it's going to have a significant impact. And I think it will be large ly a dysfunctional one. The problem I have is that this sets the standard quite low for impeachment. You know, they ultimately rejected the four articles that I primarily testified against, including bribery. They went with the two that I thought were legitimate. But they did not, obviously, follow my advice and try to build a record to support those two counts or articles. And the problem I have is judging on how they define the two articles, you could impeach every living president on this type of allegations. 

The most troubling for me is obstruction of Congress. They set an abbreviated period for investigation, arguably the shortest investigation of any presidential impeachment, depending on how you count the Johnson impeachment days. Then they said, “If you don't turn over the evidence during that period, you're obstructing Congress.” Well, President Trump went to court to challenge the necessity of handing over that material. Both Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon were allowed to go all the way to the Supreme Court where they ultimately lost. Nixon resigned soon afterwards. My concern is that this —  there really does seem like you are making an appeal to the court into a high crime or misdemeanor. 

KING: You did say that you didn't think they had enough evidence, that you thought the impeachment was rushed. Why does the Democrats' time line matter? 

TURLEY: Well, it matters because the Democrats know that this will fail. This record is incomplete. It has conflicts. The only way that you could convict the president on this record is to literally make every inference against his position. And that's basically what my co—  my co-witnesses said, that you can base this on inferences. The problem is there's direct evidence out there. The House never subpoenaed Joe — John Bolton. They never subpoenaed Mick Mulvaney. They never subpoenaed Giuliani. These are people with direct information. And they burned four months that they could have gone to court to compel this testimony. That's a dangerous record to impeach a president on because it's easily manufactured against any president. 

ANTHONY MASON: Kim, the president refuses to participate in this inquiry. Does that undermine his complaints about lack of due process? 

WEHLE: Sure. People I think rightly compare what's happening here to an indictment that comes out of a grand jury. So a grand jury meets secretly, the prosecutors present evidence, and that produces a charging document that could send regular people like you or me to jail or even to the electric chair. It's quite a serious consequence. Here the president of the United States had an opportunity to call witnesses, to bring his lawyers before the equivalent of the grand jury, before the House Judiciary Committee in advance of actually issuing the articles of impeachment. And he said "I don't want to participate in that." So at the end of the day, what we're talking about here with this President is keeping his job. Of course, it's an important job, it's one that people -- you know, we elected him on. But it's not the same as going to jail. 

KING: Jonathan, the president called you a liberal law professor. I don't think he meant it as a compliment. Can you tell me what you thought about that. Then we've got to go. 

TURLEY: This is in the letter to Pelosi. I won't associate myself with that single line of the letter. But he wanted to create an indelible record. He did with that letter. 

KING: Okay. All right. You're in the letter. Thank you -- 

DOKOUPIL: Of course, we should point out —  thank you both — we should point out that Democrats say they have to go at this pace with impeachment because there is an election coming and the court system would take a long time, the abuse of power charge could influence this vote. That's what their timetable response is. Jonathan and Kim, thank you very much. 

 

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