If Donald Trump did not lie thousands of times a year, Americans might pay a lot more attention to how often Mitch McConnell says things that are incredibly untrue. Yesterday, Tuesday, January 14, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said something that was both so amazingly untrue and blitheringly stupid that perhaps it should be taught in law classes as an example of fallacious logic. Here is what McConnell said from cnsnews.com:
“Do they think the entire country has forgotten what they were saying just a couple of days ago?
“We heard over and over that the House case, on its own, was totally damning and convincing. That’s what they were saying a few days ago. Clearly, a majority of the House felt it was sufficient to impeach. And a number of Senate Democrats were happy to pre-judge the case publicly and suggest the House had proven enough for removal.
“But now, all of a sudden, the story has reversed. Now, we hardly know anything. Now, the investigation is just beginning. Now, what the House has produced is so weak that they’re calling their own investigation a “cover-up.” Who would be the author of this cover-up — Chairman Schiff?”
“We have arrived at a simple contradiction. Two things cannot be both true: House Democrats’ case cannot simultaneously be so robust that it was enough to impeach in the first place – but, also so weak that the Senate needs to go fishing.
“If the existing case is strong, there’s no need for the judge and jury to re-open the investigation.
“If the existing case is weak, House Democrats should not have impeached in the first place.”
This was another example of Mitch McConnell being disingenuous. First, he pretends that a couple of days ago that Democrats were saying that the impeachment case against Donald Trump was incredibly strong, and that now they are saying that it is very weak. That is a giant lie. It is true that the Democrats did say that they had a solid case against Donald Trump a few days ago, but at no point did they suddenly start saying that the case against him was weak. It was the Congressional Republicans who repeatedly said that the case was weak. It was also the Republicans who repeatedly indicated that the case was so weak that no impeachment trial should occur. Because of this, the Democrats would like to call witnesses to the impeachment trial to help convince both Republicans and the American people of the validity of their case. That Mitch McConnell would act as if the Democrats were suddenly saying their case is weak is just one more example of the many years of the dishonesty of Mitch McConnell.
Mitch McConnell’s game, of pretending that impeachments or indictments could only be one of two things, so weak that they should never be brought to trial, or so strong that they should never need any more evidence, is called a “false dichotomy” in the world of logic. In psychology, it is called “black and white thinking”. It is actually something that is done a lot by depressed people. Depressed folks often tend to see practically all things as either good or bad, black and white, on or off.
However, the world is not always binary. It is true that you can have a light switch that turns a light on and off. That is something that is binary—it only has two possibilities. Yet, that same light can be put on a dimmer switch where the light can be completely off as well as being any one of an infinite range of possibilities from barely lit to fully lit.
In this same vein, the evidence against someone in a court case can be very weak, weak, somewhat weak, fair, moderately strong, strong, very strong, or completely damning. If you handed someone 100 court cases and you asked that someone to sort those cases into two piles, strong and weak, some of those court cases could easily go in one pile or another. Yet, for some of those cases, the choice might be difficult. You see, the law is not always cut and dried. The case against someone can have both strong points and weak points. In some court cases, the evidence against a defendant is neither super strong nor super weak. Sometimes, the strength of the evidence lies somewhere in the middle.
Mitch McConnell wants to pretend that court cases fall into one of two bins: incredibly weak or ironclad. They do not. The evidence in court cases falls, in fact, into a huge spectrum of possibilities from the weakest of the weak to the strongest of the strong. In addition, if nearly every Congressional Republican insists that what is actually a strong impeachment case presented by the Democrats is, in fact, a weak case, why on earth wouldn’t the Democrats seek to present more evidence? To do anything else would be, in the words of Mr. Spock, illogical.