The Senate trial of President Donald Trump began Tuesday, and Independent Justin Amash took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the current partisan battle over the upper chamber’s handling of the process. While Republicans appear set on fighting against hearing from new witnesses, the Michigan congressman believes that this is not the fair approach.
“Each side must be able to call any witness relevant to the case,” he wrote. “Each side must be able to present any evidence relevant to the case. The focus must be on a fair trial, not the political fortunes of the president, Republicans, or Democrats.”
Amash, who Time reports used to work for a Michigan law firm, also pointed to the Constitution to support his argument.
“It’s not the role of the House to do the Senate’s job. Under our Constitution, ‘[t]he Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.’ That means introducing documents, presenting evidence, and calling witnesses.”
Per The Washington Post, the Senate denied an amendment proposed by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday. The effort sought “documents, communications and other records” kept by the White House after the Trump administration previously stonewalled the House impeachment probe in its attempts to access witnesses and documents.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam B. Schiff also criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution, which provides each side 24 hours to make its opening arguments. The arguments will begin Wednesday and take place over the course of two session days. According to Schiff, it’s “a**backwards” to have a trial before asking for witnesses.
“The misconduct set out in those articles is the most serious ever charged against a president.” – @RepAdamSchiff begins the Senate trial in the impeachment of Donald J. Trump pic.twitter.com/j53Kchw6ib
— House Intelligence Committee (@HouseIntel) January 21, 2020
Schiff also said that the resolution does not adequately ensure that House managers have time to secure relevant witnesses and obtain documents pertaining to Trump’s Ukraine conduct, which is at the center of the two articles of impeachment the House passed against the president.
According to the 59-year-old politician, the integrity of the resolution is more important than the final votes on Trump’s removal from office.
“Will the president and the American people get a fair trial?” he asked.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio previously claimed that the Senate trial must come to its conclusion using the same witnesses and evidence that the House accessed when passing the articles of impeachment. In response, Amash said Rubio’s description is “not at all how a trial works.”
The 39-year-old congressman said that Rubio’s perception of how the Senate trial should proceed is focused on ensuring that Trump and other elites face a different standard of justice than everyday Americans.