Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, two of the leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, joined grassroots progressives Wednesday night in demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hold a "full and fair trial" following the House's historic vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
"The House of Representatives rightly carried out its constitutional responsibility by voting to impeach Donald Trump, the most corrupt president in our history. No one, including the president, is above the law."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
"U.S. senators take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not the president of the United States," Warren tweeted. "The Constitution requires the Senate to conduct a fair and honest impeachment trial, and that's what the American people expect."
In a statement following the House's approval of two articles of impeachment charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Sanders said he is "fully prepared to uphold my responsibility as a juror in the United States Senate."
"The House of Representatives rightly carried out its constitutional responsibility by voting to impeach Donald Trump, the most corrupt president in our history. No one, including the president, is above the law," said the Vermont senator. "I call on Mitch McConnell to conduct a full and fair trial to hold this president accountable."
Today is a sad but necessary day for American democracy. The U.S. House has voted to impeach President Trump, and that is the right thing to do. pic.twitter.com/5TtMWGUOJt
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 19, 2019
Lawmakers and progressive advocacy groups who support Trump's removal from office have voiced concerns that McConnell is planning to rig the impeachment trial to deliver a rapid acquittal for the president.
Sparking calls for his recusal from the process, McConnell told Fox News last week that he is "coordinating with White House counsel" on the Senate impeachment trial and said "there's no chance the president's going to be removed from office."
As Bloomberg reported Tuesday, McConnell "is setting a course to quash Democrats' attempts to extend the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump by calling new witnesses, as he pushes toward a goal of ending it swiftly in acquittal."
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), a member of the House Judiary Committee, said McConnell's comments on Fox News demonstrated that "he is not suited to lead the Senate impeachment trial."
"The Constitution requires that after articles of impeachment pass the House of Representatives, the president must be given a fair trial in the Senate," Demings said in a statement last Friday. "Senator McConnell has promised to sabotage that trial and he must recuse himself. No court in the country would allow a member of the jury to also serve as the accused's defense attorney."