Senate Democrats Considering Impeachment Witness Deal: Hunter Biden For John Bolton
A small group of Democratic senators is reportedly considering making a deal with Republican lawmakers allowing a Biden to testify in the impeachment trial, provided former national security adviser John Bolton testifies, too.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday night that “a small group of Democratic senators and aides” is privately discussing “whether to back a witness deal that could lead to testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton or other administration officials with possible firsthand knowledge of the Ukraine controversy.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) reportedly brought up the idea in a private GOP meeting last week.
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During the House impeachment inquiry, no witness was in direct contact with the president. Bolton’s testimony could provide new details about the alleged Ukraine pressure campaign.
Bolton has previously indicated he would be willing to testify.
While the majority of Democratic senators do not publicly support the idea, at least one believes that any testimony from the former Delaware senator would not hurt the case for impeachment.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) said, “I can’t imagine a person more comfortable in the well of the Senate than a man who spent 36 years here as a United States senator,” Coons told the Post about Joe Biden.
President Donald Trump was impeached by the House in December on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. A memo transcript of a July phone call and subsequent investigation revealed Trump tried to pressure Ukraine into opening a probe into the former Vice President and his son, Hunter Biden.
While Biden was Vice President, he spurred the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor who had at one point investigated the Ukraine-based natural gas company Burisma Holdings on allegations of tax evasion. Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma, causing Trump to believe the firing may have been motivated in his son’s business interests.
However, there is no evidence to suggest Joe Biden was acting in the interest of his son, and by the time the prosecutor was fired the case had already been dropped.
While Trump and his defense attorneys do not deny the facts of the case, they insist that it was not an impeachable offense.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said on Sunday he would be “fine” with Hunter Biden testifying.
“I think you bring in … We take the position that we want to hear from the witnesses. I don’t know what Hunter Biden has to do with the phone call the President made,” Brown told CNN. “The point is we need witnesses, we need to know who they are with the right to call witnesses, additional witnesses later. But I don’t understand how you come to the American public, make the case that this is a real trial, if there are no witnesses and there is no new evidence.”
Republican Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters last week that it is too early to decide if Hunter Biden or Bolton should testify.
“There will be this time in the process where we will have an opportunity to make a determination as to what further information we need. Whether it is for Hunter Biden or Ambassador Bolton,” Murkowski said. “Until that point in time I’m not thinking about each individual witness and who I’m putting in a bucket.”
The organizing resolution establishing rules for the impeachment trial echoes Murkowski’s thoughts.
Under the resolution, senators can decide if they want to subpoena witnesses after three days of opening arguments and a subsequent question period for the senators.
The first opening arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon.
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