Conflict continues to erupt over when a vote on impeachment witnesses will be held in the forthcoming Senate trial on the articles of impeachment passed against Donald Trump. Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell claims to have the votes to move forward without such a vote at the outset of the trial, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer nevertheless said Tuesday that he would force an early vote on such a demand, Breitbart reports.
“Make no mistake, on the question of witnesses and documents, Republicans may run but they can’t hide,” Schumer said in a floor speech.
“There will be votes at the beginning on whether to call the four witnesses we’ve proposed and subpoena the documents we’ve identified. If every Republican senator votes for a rigged trial that hides the truth, the American people will see that the Republican Senate is part of a large and awful cover-up.”
The conflict over when to hear from witnesses comes as former White House national security adviser John Bolton said he would be open to testifying if subpoenaed. Both McConnell and Schumer have been unable to agree on how to approach the impeachment trial — a stark contrast to the 100-0 votes that began former President Bill Clinton’s trial. However, Politico reports that the Senate in the Clinton trial had “much more” information on the impeachment probe than the Trump administration has offered.
To Senate Republicans,— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 7, 2020
Make no mistake: There will be votes on whether to subpoena the documents we’ve identified and to call the four witnesses we’ve proposed: Mulvaney, Bolton, Duffey, and Blair.
Will you support a fair trial, or a Senate-sponsored cover-up? pic.twitter.com/uO2ZC6Ha42
Regardless, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still holding on to the two articles of impeachment passed against Trump, and McConnell doesn’t appear set to give in to her demands for calling on witnesses. Amid the conflict, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash blasted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for suggesting that the testimony and evidence used by the House should match the evidence in the Senate trial — a notion that suggests no new witnesses are needed.
“What @marcorubio proposes here is not at all how a trial works. It’s how a double standard works,” Amash responded, noting that such an approach creates two standards of justice — one for the people, and another for Trump and “other elites.”
McConnell said he is prepared to move forward with the impeachment trial without Democrats. Moderate Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins reportedly back McConnell’s plan to start the trial and have both expressed their belief that calling witnesses later in the impeachment process — as was done during Clinton’s trial — is the best approach to take for Trump’s forthcoming trial.