Senate Will Delay Debate On Hearing Impeachment Witnesses, Predicts Democrat Chris Coons

Sen. Chris Coons during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.
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The stage has been set for President Donald Trump‘s impeachment trial in the United States Senate. Having moved from the House of Representatives, the impeachment articles against Trump are now in the upper chamber where lawmakers will soon begin the process of determining whether the president is guilty of what he is being accused of.

It remains to be seen how the process will unfold, but Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware offered some insight in an interview with CNN that was broadcast on Saturday, reports Mediaite. According to Coons, the Senate will delay the debate on immediately hearing witnesses.

“I will say this, I don’t expect that there will be a successful vote when we start Tuesday to begin the impeachment trial on witnesses, on documents,” he said, explaining that he expects Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to leave the fight over witnesses for the very end of the proceeding.

“I think that Mitch McConnell has the 51 votes he needs to insist on having the case in principle presented by the House managers first, the president’s defenders second, and only then to turn to the fight over witnesses.”

Democrats have long insisted that additional witnesses are necessary in order to finalize the process, but members of Trump’s legal team have threatened to respond to Democratic calls for witnesses with requests of their own. Notably, a member of the president’s team, Ken Starr, has suggested that Republicans would try to summon Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, who is central to the case.

According to Coons, Biden is “not relevant,” but the witnesses who Democrats want to summon are. The senator said that former National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Rudy Giuliani’s longtime associate Lev Parnas, would have insight about the allegations against Trump, especially Parnas who claims to have had conversations with Trump about his alleged pressure campaign against Ukraine.

“What we’re considering is whether or not President Trump blocked Congress inappropriately in their impeachment inquiry, whether he obstructed Congress, and whether he did or didn’t improperly order the withholding of military aid to Ukraine,” Coons said.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have their concerns about the impending trial. For Republicans, as some senators have publicly stated, the objective is to wrap up the trial as quickly as possible. Furthermore, Republican leaders have stated that they want Trump’s trial to be modeled after former President Bill Clinton’s 1999 proceeding, which lasted five weeks.

The situation is slightly more complicated for Democrats, it seems, who reportedly remain concerned about the integrity of the process. According to reports, Democrats worry that Trump will try to “game” the impeachment trial by selectively introducing documents and blocking testimonies from key witnesses.