As the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump continues, Senate Democrats are rejecting a proposed “witness reciprocity” that would call former National Security Advisor John Bolton and former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden to testify.
The Washington Post reported that some Democrats were considering the idea, but on Wednesday, several Senate Democrats rejected the idea.
He also seemed to dismiss the idea that Republicans had reached to discuss the proposal, “Right now we haven’t heard them wanting any witnesses at all.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — the lead impeachment manager — rejected the idea, “This isn’t like some fantasy football trade. … This isn’t we’ll offer you this if you give us that.”
Other Democratic senators said that Republicans would have to suggest a “relevant witnesses.”
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said in a tweet, “The President is on trial here, not anyone with the last name Biden. VP Biden and Hunter Biden are not relevant witnesses.”
I’m a lawyer, and here’s what I know: Trials have witnesses, and the witnesses have to be relevant to the case. It isn’t complicated.— Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) January 22, 2020
The President is on trial here, not anyone with the last name Biden. VP Biden and Hunter Biden are not relevant witnesses.
Several Senate Republicans have said they would be open to new witnesses, but supported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) proposal to vote on subpoenaing individuals at a later point in the trial.
Despite Democratic concerns that McConnell’s rules would make it harder to call witnesses unless they vote at the beginning of the trial, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said, “We don’t need … that vote upfront.”
“I will be in favor of witnesses, I presume after hearing the opening arguments. I would like to hear from John Bolton,” he added.
Early Wednesday morning, the Senate adopted rules for the trial that will give senators the chance to hold an up-or-down vote on whether to call new witnesses after they hear arguments for and against impeachment and there is questioning by senators.
Last week, McConnell didn’t say whether he would support calling Biden to testify, but he didn’t rule it out either, “I can’t imagine only the witnesses our Democratic colleagues want to call would be called.”