Some voices in the punditocracy have insisted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “lost” in finally agreeing to send the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate. Pelosi has responded that the delay resulted in a bunch of information coming to light, former national security adviser John Bolton’s announcement that he would testify if subpoenaed and the shoring up of public support for witnesses. With polling showing that the public overwhelmingly wants to hear from Bolton (two-thirds support it, including more than 70 percent of independents, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Monday) and a new report suggesting major defections on the Republican side, Pelosi may get the last laugh.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced publicly that he would vote to hear Bolton, and perhaps others, testify. He is not the only Republican, according to a CBS News report:Senior White House officials tell CBS News they increasingly believe that at least four Republicans, and likely more, will vote to call witnesses. In addition to Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and possibly Cory Gardner of Colorado, the White House also views Rand Paul of Kentucky as a “wild card” and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee as an “institutionalist” who might vote to call witnesses, as one official put it.
If that is accurate and the Pandora’s box of witnesses and documents is opened, the Senate trial may turn out to be a lot more uncomfortable for Trump, unless he plans on obstructing the Senate trial as he did the House impeachment hearings. Other witnesses may include acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; White House aide Robert B. Blair (involved in ordering Ukraine aid to be halted); Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper; and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (the latter two reportedly took part in an Oval Office meeting with Trump on the topic). We might even see documents the State Department has previously refused to release. In other words, we might find out all the facts, not just those Trump is willing to let us hear.
Now, it is possible that potential Republican defectors have searched their souls, decided in good conscience that they need to conduct a fair trial and have grown spines to stand up to Trump and his cohort, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). On the other hand, Republicans with rotten poll numbers may have spent the last few weeks testing public sentiment, only to discover it is politically untenable for them to aid in the Trump coverup. If that is the case, Pelosi should take a victory lap.
Senate Republicans also signaled Monday they would reject the idea of simply voting to dismiss the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as the House prepares to send the charges to the chamber for the historic trial. “I think our members, generally are not interested in the motion to dismiss. They think both sides need to be heard,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who is part of GOP leadership.
McConnell, who is apparently still coordinating with the White House defense, is very intent on making this go away,
McConnell: 2 things cannot both be true. Hse Democrats’ case cannot simultaneously be so robust that it was enough to impeach in the first place, but also so weak that the Senate needs to go fishing.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 14, 2020
Here’s the rebuttal:
The case is *already* overwhelmingly strong against Trump; witnesses would make it *even stronger.* This is precisely why they impeached when they did.
GOP Senators know their pro-Trump, anti-constitutional rhetoric won’t work when it comes to denying testimony by key witnesses – but allowing witnesses means Trump’s childish lies and rancid corruption will be on full display in a Senate impeachment trial. It boils down to convicting Trump and *maybe* keeping the Senate, or letting him off and certainly losing the Senate AND White House. That’s the Democratic hope anyway.
Mitch McConnell says both sides want to hear from witnesses and that he can’t imagine a scenario where only the witnesses the democrats would want to be called would be called. He also says there is little or no sentiment in the Republican conference for a motion to dismiss. pic.twitter.com/fai5z6DgCC— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) January 14, 2020