Earlier this week, as soon as the House of Representatives sent the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the United States Senate, senators from both sides of the aisle started sharing their concerns about the process. Now, the question of witnesses looms large.
Both parties have indicated that they would like to summon additional witnesses, but possibly the only blockbuster testimony would come from the person at the heart of the impeachment articles: Hunter Biden. The GOP has threatened to call on Biden to testify, and Democrats have dismissed such calls as unrelated to the case. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio discussed the matter on Sunday, per The Hill.
Speaking with CNN’s Brianna Keilar, Brown echoed his Democratic colleagues, stressing the importance of having additional witnesses. Keilar pressed the senator on the issue of Biden’s testimony, asking whether Democrats are “prepared” to have former Vice President Joe Biden’s son speak before Congress.
“We take the position that we want to hear from witnesses,” Brown said. “I don’t know what Hunter Biden has to do with the phone call that was made,” he added.
“But you’re fine hearing from him?” Keilar insisted.
“I’m fine with hearing — I mean, I understand I — I’m not a lawyer. I understand both sides get to call witnesses,” Brown responded, alleging that Republican senators have privately told him that they would only summon the former vice president’s son to testify in order to distract from the substance of the trial.
Brown then shared more details about his private conversations with Republican senators, claiming that some of them privately oppose Trump and consider him a “bigot.”
— The Hill (@thehill) January 19, 2020
Brown concluded the conversation arguing that witnesses and additional evidence are necessary in order to hold a fair and impartial trial.
“The point is, we need witnesses. But I don’t understand how you can, to the American public, make the case that this is a real trial if there are no witnesses and there is no new evidence.”
Democrats have long insisted that the GOP needs to allow additional witnesses, such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani’s longtime associate Lev Parnas, as both men are thought to have additional information about Trump’s allegedly inappropriate contacts with the Ukrainian government. Members of Trump’s legal team have threatened to retaliate by summoning Biden.
The bitter fight over witness testimonies will not reach its epilogue soon, according to Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware. In an interview broadcast on Saturday. Coons said that he believes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will postpone the fight over witnesses until the very end of the proceeding.