Mitch McConnell Should Not Favor Loyalty to Donald Trump Over U.S. Constitution, Law Professor Says in Top Kentucky Newspaper

The highest circulation newspaper in Sen. Mitch McConnell's Kentucky constituency has accused the Senate Majority leader of being prepared to violate the Constitution if he is not impartial when the impeachment process of President Donald Trump reaches trial.

McConnell faces growing criticism for voicing sentiment that he is coordinating with the White House to ensure a favorable outcome for Trump, after the House of Representatives impeached the president on December 18 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Joining the chorus of disapproval is Boston College law professor and Kentucky native Kent Greenfield, who took a swipe at McConnell in an op-ed published in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell is pictured at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. His local newspaper says the senator is about to violate his oath of office with his handling of the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Alex Wong/Getty Images

He starts his editorial by saying, "We Kentuckians know that our word is our bond. Oaths are the most solemn of promises, and their breach results in serious reputational—and sometimes legal—consequences.

"President Donald Trump will soon be on trial in the Senate on grounds that he breached one oath. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is about to breach two."

Greenfield says that the Constitution requires a fair and impartial Senate hearing and that the oath that Senators would have to take to try the president "is over and above the oath each senator has already taken to support the Constitution."

"The presidential oath and the senatorial oath to be taken before an impeachment trial are kin," Greenfield wrote, adding that on the rare occasion the president has not been faithful in acting without corruption, "the Senate is required to be faithful in its adjudication of the case against him."

"But we have already seen indications that McConnell has no intention of doing impartial justice. He has said that he does not consider himself an 'impartial juror.' He is coordinating strategy with the White House," Greenfield said.

"Every senator has a constitutional obligation of impartiality. But McConnell's role as Senate leader makes his obligation even more important and crucial to the constitutional framework.

"This is not a time for political cynicism or constitutional faithlessness. McConnell's loyalty to Trump should not overwhelm his loyalty to the Constitution. If he fails in this, he is not only violating his Article I oath but his Article VI oath," Greenfield said.

This week, Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski described how she was "disturbed" by reports that McConnell and other GOP senators, such as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, would be involved in "total coordination" between the U.S. Senate and President Trump.

"To me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense, and so I heard what leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that that has further confused the process," she told told the local Anchorage KTUU-TV news station.

Greenfield described how that during the trial, the Senate would be conducting its "gravest and most serious constitutional obligation".

"All senators should take their obligation of faithful impartiality seriously, especially McConnell. History is watching, and it will be a harsh judge," he said.

Newsweek has contacted Sen. McConnell's office for comment.

Meanwhile, The Hill reported McConnell is delivering over $1 billion worth of federal spending and tax breaks to his Kentucky constituents, which would hold him in good stead during a tough re-election bid in 2020 for his seventh Senate term.

McConnell touted the figures at a press conference in Louisville as he faces off against his Democratic opponent, Amy McGrath, a retired Marine Corps fighter pilot who raised nearly $11 million in the third quarter this year for the 2020 race, The Hill reported.