Mitch McConnell Says GOP Doesn’t Have Votes To Stop Witnesses In Trump Senate Impeachment Trial
This comes after Trump’s legal team finished its presentation on Tuesday against the House’s charges that the president abused power and obstructed Congress. On the final day of presentations, the president’s lawyers attacked the credibility of former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s new allegations that Trump personally asked for the freezing of Ukrainian aid. Republicans were hoping to acquit Trump this week, but with more moderate Republicans pushing for witnesses this seems more and more likely.
In a meeting with Republicans on Tuesday, McConnell said that there weren’t enough votes to block witnesses from being added to the trial. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Martha McSally (R-Arizona) and Thom Tillis (R – North Carolina), all senators who are facing reelection races later this year, addressed other Republicans in the meeting, according to people familiar with the meeting said. According to his spokesman, Gardner believes a longer trial would lead to more Democratic attacks, while Tillis called the impeachment trial a fraud.
The White House told the Wall Street Journal it was optimistic it would get the necessary votes by Friday. “We are still in the game,” said a representatives.
The President’s lawyers argued that House managers hadn’t presented a case that proved Trump abused his executive power and obstructed Congress, and that the accusations in the articles of impeachment fell short of the requirements to remove a president from office.
“The bar for impeachment cannot be set this low,” said Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal attorneys. Another member of Trump’s legal team, Deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin, said the abuse-of-power article was “infinitely malleable,” adding, “How are we supposed to get the proof of what’s in the president’s head?” he asked.
In the next coming days, senators will be allowed to ask questions to both teams and finally take their vote that decides if witnesses will be introduced by the end of this week.