Reprinted with permission from Alternet
One of President Donald Trump’s main campaign promises of 2016 was to “drain the swamp” — in other words, aggressively fight against cronyism and blatant conflicts of interest in U.S. politics. But several members of Trump’s impeachment defense team, the Louisville Courier Journal is reporting, have made generous campaign contributions to one of the president’s most prominent allies: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is up for reelection this year.
Louisville is in McConnell’s back yard: he represents Kentucky in the U.S. Senate. And Courier Journal reporters Ben Tobin and Morgan Watkins, analyzing campaign finance data, report that Ken Starr and Robert Ray — both members of Trump’s impeachment defense team — have been generous contributors to McConnell’s 2020 reelection campaign.
Starr donated $2800 to the McConnell Senate Committee on July 31, 2019. And Ray made two separate donations to the Committee: one for the Republican senatorial primary in Kentucky, the other for the general election in November 2020. Between the two, Ray gave McConnell a total of $5600.
During the Ukraine scandal and Trump’s impeachment, McConnell has flaunted his pro-Trump bias. The Senate majority leader has stressed that he does not consider himself an “impartial juror” in Trump’s impeachment trial and that he will be coordinating with the Trump White House during the trial. Moreover, McConnell has opposed featuring any witnesses in Trump’s trial, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Now 77, McConnell has been serving in the U.S. Senate for 35 years: he was first elected in 1984 and was seated in January 1985. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) would love to see McConnell voted out of office this year, but he is seeking reelection in a red state that Trump carried by 30 percent in 2016 (compared to Trump’s 9 percent win over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Texas).
However, it isn’t impossible for a Democrat to win a statewide race in Kentucky, where, in 2019, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin was voted out of office and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear (Kentucky’s former attorney general) achieved a narrow victory.
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