While House Democrats are about to impeach President Trump for asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens for what looks like obvious corruption – Senate Republicans have no interest in calling witnesses to determine whether Trump’s request was justified in the first place.
According to the Washington Examiner, the GOP-controlled Senate have no plans to call key witnesses to testify in an impeachment trial. This means Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, John Kerry’s stepson, Alexandra Chalupa and Ukrainian prosecutors involved in the Burisma case won’t set foot in the Senate.
Their reasoning? Senate Republicans have “no appetite” for it.
Senate impeachment rules require a majority vote to call witnesses, and with just two out of 53 votes to spare, there is no “appetite” among Republicans to pursue testimony from people that Democrats blocked Republicans from subpoenaing during the House investigation. Indeed, Republicans might forgo calling witnesses altogether, saying minds are made up on Trump’s guilt or innocence and that testimony at trial on the Senate floor would draw out the proceedings unnecessarily. –Washington Examiner
Instead, top Senate Republicans are leaning towards calling a quick vote to acquit Trump once House Democrats and the White House have delivered their arguments.
“At that point, I would expect that most members would be ready to vote and wouldn’t need more information,” said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming – the #3 ranked Senate Republican. “Many people have their minds pretty well made up.”
“Here’s what I want to avoid: this thing going on longer than it needs to,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “I want to end this.“
The president is not in danger of being removed from office by the Senate, a move that requires 67 votes.
But in a trial, he is seeking exoneration. Some Republicans question whether that’s possible without hearing from witnesses, whether it be these or other less politically charged figures. “Not sure how you have a fair trial without calling witnesses,” said one Trump ally in the House. But with some Senate Republicans facing uncertain 2020 reelection contests and others privately unhappy with Trump’s behavior, mustering 51 GOP votes for Trump’s dream witness list appears impossible.
“How many senators would enjoy a Trump rally? That’s probably your whip count for calling Hunter,” a Republican senator said, requesting anonymity to speak candidly. Senate Democrats are not expected to provide any votes to call Biden or the others. Or they might ask so high a price, demanding that in exchange, they be allowed to call Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, that Republicans balk. –Washington Examiner
“It becomes endless motions to call people, and I’m not sure what anybody gains from all that,” said #2 Senate Republican, John Thune of South Dakota.
That may not play well with Trump’s base, who was expecting to see a doddering Joe Biden and his cokehead son Hunter answer tough questions about Ukraine.
“President Trump’s allies will want to see witnesses called. How many, and which witnesses, will quickly become a dividing line,” said former Trump adviser Jason Miller, who co-hosts an impeachment-centric podcast with Steve Bannon.
Without witness testimony, the Senate proceedings would take roughly two weeks according to the report.
On Tuesday, House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment accusing President Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress. Notably, there is no mention “extortion” or “quid-pro-quo” – accusations Democrats have been pounding on throughout the process.