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WATCH: ‘Trying To Tilt The Scales Of Justice With Threats’: McConnell Tears Into Maxine Waters For Her Chauvin Trial Rhetoric

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to members of the media during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Sen. McConnell said the Senate will pass the House coronavirus funding package in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Speaking on the floor of the United States Senate on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) denounced Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) for her widely condemned comments regarding the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He likened Waters’ comments, which included the statement “We’re looking for a guilty verdict,” to “window-shopping or ordering off a menu,” then accused her of “trying to tilt the scales of justice with threats.”

“Last summer our nation began grappling, in a renewed way, with anger and pain, at the fact that our progress toward racial justice remains unfinished,” McConnell began. “Rightly understood, this is not a struggle against our nation’s founding principles and central pillars. Rather, it is a journey to make America even more faithful to itself, to ensure that life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and equal justice under law are indeed the birthright of every single American.”

He turned to the destructive impact of the riots of 2020: “Unfortunately, some of last summer’s demonstrations devolved into violent and destructive riots. Small businesses were looted; civic monuments were defaced, and government buildings attacked, Not just insults, but rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at the good men and women of law enforcement. These were efforts to use violence and disorder as a political tactic to influence or overrule our democratic processes and our justice system.”

Then McConnell segued to the Chauvin trial: “Now, over the last few weeks, Minneapolis returned to center stage with the trial of the police officer who was accused of killing George Floyd last May. Again, the causes of civil rights, equal justice and the rule of law tell us that this trial, and every trial, must go forward, without social pressure, political considerations, and certainly violent threats playing a role.”

“Every single American deserves a fair trial,” McConnell asserted. “This is sacred. You do not balance the scales of justice by trying to tip them.”

McConnell then targeted Waters: “And yet, this past weekend, one Democratic House member from California took it upon herself to visit the protesters in Minneapolis. She said, ‘We’re looking for a guilty verdict.’ Like somebody window-shopping or ordering off a menu, she’s looking for a guilty verdict. If that verdict is not reached, the Congresswoman said demonstrators should not only ‘stay in the streets,’ ‘We’ve gotta get more active and confrontational and make sure they know we mean business.'”

“It’s harder to imagine anything more inappropriate than a member of Congress flying in from California to inform local leaders — not so subtly — that this defendant had better be found guilty or else there will be big trouble in the streets,” McConnell snapped. “Again, so much of our nation’s quest for civil rights and equal justice has been the fight to get rid — get rid — of extrajudicial violence. To get rid of rigged trials where the outcome was molded by public sentiment or angry mobs. It is beyond the pale for a sitting member of the United States Congress to look at what happened last summer and imply there should be some kind of a sequel — a sequel! — if a legal case does not unfold as she thinks it should.”

“Just a few hours after those comments, two members — two members of the National Guard were on site in Minneapolis, keeping the peace, were targeted in a drive-by shooting,” McConnell noted. “Thankfully, neither was seriously injured, but let’s hope it doesn’t take an injury or a fatality to remind politicians that their words actually have consequences.”

McConnell then attacked Democrats for their double standard as they had attacked former President Trump for his comments preceding the January 6 Capitol riot but their reticence to condemn Waters’ comments: “Earlier this year, of course, the country heard many strong opinions from Democrats about whether leaders bear responsibility when reckless words precede criminal violence. Instead of trying to tilt the scales of justice with threats, policy makers should actually focus on making policy.”

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