Senate Republicans emerged from the first full day of arguments in the impeachment trial against Donald Trump with complaints that they didn’t learn anything new that made them believe Trump deserves to be removed from office.
The GOP complaints come after Republicans blocked nearly a dozen attempts by Democrats to introduce evidence Trump himself blocked from view during the House’s impeachment inquiry.
Democrats sought to ensure that the Senate trial would include interviews with key witnesses Trump blocked from testifying — such as former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — as well as documents from multiple government agencies that Trump blocked from view.
“We’ve just come out listening to, what, six hours of testimony, and I didn’t hear anything new,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) told reporters Wednesday evening, according to Politico. Barrasso is one of the 53 Republican senators who voted to block new witness testimony and new documentary evidence.
The impeachment trial rules, which were crafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and passed with only GOP votes, do not allow for witness testimony or new documentary evidence to be presented until after the House impeachment managers make their case.
And even then, Democrats would have to convince four GOP senators to vote to subpoena witnesses or evidence. That’s a hard task, given Republicans have so far voted in lock-step with McConnell’s rules, which were intended for maximum control and quick acquittal of Trump.
The most likely Republican senators to buck their party and vote for witnesses and evidence to be heard are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah. However, those three Senators all voted against Democrats’ attempts to call witnesses.
And Democrats would still need to find one more Republican vote, even if all three of those GOP senators vote in favor of hearing new witness testimony and reviewing new documents.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore