January 19, 2020
Republican Senator Says Impeachment Trial Must Be 'Viewed As Fair,' But Will Vote Against Hearing Witnesses

At least one Republican senator now says that the senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump must be "viewed as fair," even as Majority. On Saturday, Leader Mitch McConnell prepared a set of rules that would allow the entire case to be dismissed without being heard at all, according to an Axios report.

"It is important that we have a process that is viewed as fair," Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski told KTUU-TV in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday.

But Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he will force a vote to allow new witnesses to testify at the trial, in addition to the witnesses who testified before the House Intelligence Committee during the impeachment inquiry late last year.

Among the witnesses, Schumer says he will request Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. Bolton is believed to have direct knowledge of conversations in which Trump discussed the pressure campaign against Ukraine that is at the heart of the impeachment articles.

Mulvaney, as OMB director, would likely have been tasked with executing an order by Trump to hold back nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, aid that had been approved by Congress. In a report issued earlier this week, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office concluded that the delay in sending the money to Ukraine was a violation of United States law.

John Bolton looks a notes.
Getty Images | Win McNamee
Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton could be called as an impeachment witness.

But Murkowski also said on Saturday that she will oppose Schumer's motion to call Bolton, Mulvaney, and others.

"There will be an effort to force a motion on whether or not certain individuals will be called as witnesses to the proceeding," Murkowski told the Anchorage TV station, saying that she will vote to "table" that motion — in other words, to set it aside, which would not allow witnesses to be called.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," Murkowski added. But she went on to tell KTUU that after the "base case" has been presented, she may then change her mind and decide that the senate should hear the additional witnesses.

Murkowski earlier said that McConnell's announcement that he would closely coordinate his management of the trial with the White House "disturbed" her.

According to the Axios report on Saturday, Republican Senator Josh Hawley — who said he had seen a draft of McConnell's proposed rules — said that he would be "very, very surprised" if McConnell did not allow an opportunity for Trump's legal team to call for a vote to dismiss the impeachment case.