If you’ve been paying close attention during the House impeachment hearings, you weren’t surprised when Nancy Pelosi named Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings as one of the House impeachment managers for Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. Demings has a sharp understanding of criminal conspiracies and the law, owing at least in part to her history as the Chief of the Orlando Police Department. Now Demings is already taking her first big swing in the impeachment saga.
Last night Val Demings called for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to recuse himself from the impeachment trial, as reported by the Miami Herald, citing McConnell’s public remarks about how he wants to run the trial in coordination with Donald Trump’s criminal defense attorneys.
To be clear, this isn’t going to happen. Mitch McConnell isn’t going to voluntarily recuse himself – and Republican Senators aren’t going to vote to throw McConnell out of the trial. But this does help turn McConnell into a liability for Senate Republicans. They’re already trying to figure out if they need to call witnesses against Trump in order to insulate themselves from voter backlash. Now they may have to conclude that they need to call witnesses just to tamp down the media’s focus on the question of whether McConnell should recuse himself.
This is a very smart move by Val Demings. In fact she’s using Mitch McConnell’s own favorite move against him. He routinely demands things that he knows can’t happen, as a way of moving the goal posts and opening the door for getting some other concession in return. Now Demings is doing precisely that to McConnell.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report