House Democrats Are Reportedly Open To Calling New Impeachment Witnesses If Senate Doesn’t

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (C) holds the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump which she signed during an engrossment ceremony with (L-R) Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Eliot Engle (D-NY), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol January 15, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Democrats continue to advocate to hear from new impeachment witnesses in the forthcoming Senate trial on Donald Trump as Republicans appear united against the suggestion. While Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware recently said he believes the Senate will delay the debate on hearing from new witnesses, The Hill reports that House Democrats may call witnesses on their own if the Senate fails to meet their demands.

The news suggests that witnesses silenced by the strategy of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could still find a voice in the House.

“We would be remiss in the House of Representatives not to follow this trail to its conclusion. And Parnas has emerged as an important figure in this criminal conspiracy to force or coerce a foreign government to help Trump’s reelection campaign,” said Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson, a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, didn’t explicitly say House Democrats will call relevant witnesses. However, he did suggest that failure to pressure the Senate to hear from such witnesses will not be the end of the Democrats’ push.

“The more we hear, and the more things come out, the more resolute we are to make sure that we’re dealing with the truth, and that it’s not being swept under the rug.”

Investigations into Trump’s handling of foreign policy in Ukraine ⁠— which led to the two current impeachment articles against him ⁠— continue even as the Senate trial on Tuesday approaches. With Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas’ recent interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Democrats are reportedly hoping for new evidence that will force the Senate to consider the latest information.

“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas told Maddow of his role in the alleged Ukraine pressure campaign. “He was aware of all my movements.”

Despite the potential of damning evidence against Trump, Senate Republicans appear set to push the trial forward as quickly as possible and are aiming to follow the model of former President Bill Clinton’s 1999 proceeding. Conversely, Democrats continue to push for witnesses and have expressed concern over the integrity of the trial. Some reportedly worry that Trump will attempt to “game” the trial by blocking testimony from key witnesses.

Trump himself has said that he would use executive privilege to block testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton, who said he would be open to testifying in the Senate trial if subpoenaed, CNN reported.