Republican Senators Coalesce Around Plan For No Witnesses At Trump’s Senate Impeachment Trial
As the structure and rules of the trial in the Senate are being debated following the impeachment of President Donald Trump, there seems to be a broad consensus emerging among the Senate Republicans about having a short process in the Senate.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–South Carolina) said that the Senate would decide, based chiefly on the report prepared by the House of Representatives. It would not go into a fresh examination of witnesses.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R–Wisconsin) said, “I would think the consensus would be let the House make their case, let the Senate make their case and then put forward a motion to vote.”
This reflects a seismic shift in the views of the Senate Republicans. The earlier view of most of the Republican Senators was that there should be an elaborate process in the Senate.
The White House wants an elaborate process in the Senate.
The argument put forward by Republican senators in favor of the short process in the Senate is two-fold.
First, while the president’s desire to have witnesses, who could provide exculpatory evidence in his favor, is clearly understandable, but Republican Senate thinks having witnesses could work both ways.
If Republicans get their witnesses, the Democrats would try to get their witnesses too, like Vice President Mike Pence and others.
It is public knowledge that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Kentucky) has rebuffed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D – New York) demand to have acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former National Security Adviser John Bolton and a few others testify in the Senate.
Second, subpoenaing new witnesses to depose or testify would delay the process. It would make it messy, with lots of motions and counter motions. It is something that voters would not like to see. Such a messy process might even reveal intraparty differences of opinion.
According to McConnell, this would be just going through the motions, knowing it is inconceivable that two-thirds of the Senate or 67 Senators would actually vote for impeachment.
Trump has called for a Senate hearing that publicly hears out witnesses, who would vindicate him and also one where Hunter Biden and the whistleblower would testify.