CNN guest Richard Painter, who served as the White House's top ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, compared Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) plan for the upcoming impeachment trial to a judge making an all-white jury for a KKK trial.
"Well, I think the House Democrats did everything they could in view of what’s going on with the Trump Administration. They have gone to court to compel a lot of evidence being produced by the Trump Administration, and they’ve been fought every step of the way," Painter said on Thursday.
"But this is trial is going to take place in the Senate as a fair trial. It is presided over by the chief justice of the United States. This is a trial. It’s not a political game. The oath of loyalty is to the United States of America, not to Donald Trump," he said.
Painter then criticized McConnell for coordinating with the White House on the trial in the Senate.
"And for Mitch McConnell to say he is working with the White House, coordinating with the defendant in this trial before the trial has even begun is atrocious. He may think he's a judge impaneling an all-white jury for a Klansman trial in Mississippi," he said. "That’s not the kind of trial we have."
The comparison prompted an immediate response from former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).
"I'm sorry. You're being absurd. You're just being absurd," Santorum said, telling Painter it is appropriate for the Senate to be in contact with the White House during the trial.
"The Senate is the one that gets to make the rules, and there is no requirement in the Senate to listen to witnesses. The Senate makes the rules based upon the allegations that are made and what is necessary to get a judgment in this case," he continued.