CNN Analysts Slam GOP Pushing 'Joke,' 'Farce' Trial

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Monday's Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, conservative contributor Rick Santorum was outnumbered on a panel by liberals 5-1 as the group discussed the planned rules for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. CNN analysts used words like "farce," "joke," and "atrocity" to complain about the rules.

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin slammed GOP leader Mitch McConnell as he declared:

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Mitch McConnell is trying to make the trial a farce, I mean, trying to make it a joke. I mean, this is, you know, the trial will start every day at one in the afternoon. Twelve hours would be one in the morning, but that's not how the Senate works. There will be breaks. So the idea is that McConnell wants to try to keep most of the evidence in the wee hours so that nobody sees it. And then the real new atrocity, frankly, that McConnell added today -- which I don't think many people saw coming -- was the idea that the House managers couldn't even present their evidence without a vote from the full Senate -- something that's completely new that was not true in the Clinton trial. And it's all just designed to engineer an acquittal as soon as possible.

CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and Santorum soon went back and forth over the significance of the Government Accountability Office ruling that President Trump had broken the law:

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: The Government Accountability Office saying what the President did was illegal. I mean, they've referred to it in the documents.

RICK SANTORUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, there's a lot of things the GAO said that Obama did was illegal, but nobody said anything about it. The reality is that the GAO represents the Congress and a different point of view than the executive branch, and there's always contesting that point of view.

The two went at it again after Borger voiced agreement with Toobin, and defended Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's handling of impeachment:

BORGER: But I want to agree with Jeffrey on this. I think this is a perversion of the process that was used with Bill Clinton, plain and simple. It's condensed to the point where it's laughable. It's a joke. I mean, you want people to sit there for 12 hours a day and listen to this rather than splitting it up as was with Clinton to six or so hours a day just because --

SANTORUM: Who's fault is that?

BORGER: Let me finish. Just because the President of the United States would like to have this done conveniently by the State of the Union.

SANTORUM: So do you think there might have been some motive that Nancy Pelosi held this for a month to be proximate to the State of the Union so that he would be under impeachment when he came there.

BORGER: Nancy Pelosi was actually trying to find out what the rules were going to be. And, by the way, Mitch McConnell was going to keep them in his back pocket until the final day anyway.

Liberal contributor Carl Bernstein soon suggested that Republicans were not being "patriotic" in defending President Trump unlike when actions were taken against other Republicans from the past like President Richard Nixon and Senator Joe McCarthy:

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Let's look at the big picture, which is this is the most important moment for the Republican party since the censure of Joe McCarthy and the impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon in which Republicans became great heroes and patriots. Now we're looking at "Midnight Mtich" and the so-called world's greatest deliberative body really embracing a coverup that is there for all to see. That's what this is about. It's about preventing information from becoming known and seen by the American public.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, January 20, Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN:

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Mitch McConnell is trying to make the trial a farce, I mean, trying to make it a joke. I mean, this is, you know, the trial will start every day at one in the afternoon. Twelve hours would be one in the morning, but that's not how the Senate works. There will be breaks. So the idea is that McConnell wants to try to keep most of the evidence in the wee hours so that nobody sees it. And then the real new atrocity, frankly, that McConnell added today -- which I don't think many people saw coming -- was the idea that the House managers couldn't even present their evidence without a vote from the full Senate -- something that's completely new that was not true in the Clinton trial. And it's all just designed to engineer an acquittal as soon as possible.

(...)

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: The Government Accountability Office saying what the President did was illegal. I mean, they've referred to it in the documents.

RICK SANTORUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, there's a lot of things the GAO said that Obama did was illegal, but nobody said anything about it. The reality is that the GAO represents the Congress and a different point of view than the executive branch, and there's always contesting that point of view.

BORGER: But I want to agree with Jeffrey on this. I think this is a perversion of the process that was used with Bill Clinton, plain and simple. It's condensed to the point where it's laughable. It's a joke. I mean, you want people to sit there for 12 hours a day and listen to this rather than splitting it up as was with Clinton to six or so hours a day just because --

SANTORUM: Who's fault is that?

BORGER: Let me finish. Just because the President of the United States would like to have this done conveniently by the State of the Union.

SANTORUM: So do you think there might have been some motive that Nancy Pelosi held this for a month to be proximate to the State of the Union so that he would be under impeachment when he came there.

BORGER: Nancy Pelosi was actually trying to find out what the rules were going to be. And, by the way, Mitch McConnell was going to keep them in his back pocket until the final day anyway.

TOOBIN: But, Rick, even if she turned over the articles earlier, they couldn't have started the trial before now. They were on their Christmas vacation.

SANTORUM: Oh, look, they would have started it a lot earlier, and this could have been done in a more orderly fashion. Nancy Pelosi forced a more shortened process.

BORGER: No.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Carl?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We're already down in the weeds. Let's look at the big picture, which is this is the most important moment for the Republican party since the censure of Joe McCarthy and the impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon in which Republicans became great heroes and patriots. Now we're looking at "Midnight Mtich" and the so-called world's greatest deliberative body really embracing a coverup that is there for all to see. That's what this is about. It's about preventing information from becoming known and seen by the American public.

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