Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continued to deliver on President Trump’s agenda and pushed nearly a dozen federal judge nominees as House Democrats pursued impeachment.
On Wednesday, the same day the country found itself wholly absorbed in the partisan impeachment effort in the House, McConnell “forced a deal with Democrats to expedite 11 federal district judge nominations,” per CNN:
McConnell’s thrust is emblematic of what he sees as his crowning achievement. So far, he has led the charge changing the landscape of the federal courts across the country with a record number of appellate court judges — currently at 50 — and Supreme Court nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
McConnell had scheduled procedural votes on nominees coming roughly every two hours. Two votes were held Wednesday before the agreement was reached to speed things along with 11 consecutive votes in the late afternoon. Final votes to confirm the nominees have not yet been scheduled.
“In less than three years, President Trump has appointed and the Republican Senate has confirmed 50 circuit judges,” McConnell tweeted last week. “That is already the most in any president’s whole first term since 1980”:
In less than three years, President Trump has appointed and the Republican Senate has confirmed 50 circuit judges. That is already the most in any president’s whole first term since 1980. https://t.co/3Ns65gvCje pic.twitter.com/r0mZgunu7f
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) December 11, 2019
“My motto for the remainder of this Congress is ‘leave no vacancy behind,’” McConnell reportedly told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday.
The House passed both articles of impeachment on Wednesday evening, with two Democrats, Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), voting against the first article charging President Trump with abusing the office of the presidency. They, along with Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), also voted against the second article of impeachment, charging Trump with obstruction of Congress. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), arguably, delivered the biggest surprise of the evening by voting present for both articles.
“One may not always agree with my decision, but everyone should know that I will always do what I believe to be right for the country that I love,” she said in a statement.
“After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no,” she said.
“I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country,” she added.
McConnell is addressing what he calls the “House Democrats’ precedent-breaking impeachment of the President of the United States” on Thursday morning:
At 9:30am tomorrow morning, on the Senate floor, I will speak about House Democrats’ precedent-breaking impeachment of the President of the United States.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) December 19, 2019