With the House of Representatives prepared to conduct a full chamber vote next week on the issue of whether to impeach President Donald Trump or not, preparations in the Senate are underway for how that body will conduct itself in an impending trial.
The House impeaches the president based on a simple majority vote. The Senate then votes on whether to indict or remove the president, with two-thirds of that chamber required in order to do so.
In preparing for the Senate trial, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has sent a letter to his counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, requesting that four witnesses be heard during the proceedings.
It is necessary, for a “fair” trial, Schumer wrote in his letter, that the process “must be one that not only hears all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly,” but also “pass[es] the fairness test with the American people.”
Schumer noted that, “in the trial of President [Bill] Clinton, the House Managers were permitted to call witnesses, and it is clear that the Senate should hear testimony of witnesses in this trial as well,” he said.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) December 16, 2019
The four witnesses Schumer requested be heard included:
- Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney;
- John Bolton, Trump’s former National Security Advisor up until this year;
- Robert Blair, the senior adviser for Mulvaney; and
- Michael Duffey, Associate Director for National Security within the Office of Management and Budget (which Mulvaney also heads).
Bolton’s and Mulvaney’s inclusion on the list of requested witnesses is particularly interesting. According to testimony from Dr. Fiona Hill, Bolton was unhappy with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, working behind the scenes in Ukraine to dredge up “dirt” against Joe Biden, a potential political opponent to Trump in 2020.
Hill stated that Bolton described Giuliani’s work as a “drug deal,” and implicated Mulvaney as being a part of it.
Sources close to Bolton also stated early last month that the former National Security Advisor was willing to testify about the Ukraine scandal — but only if a court order allowed him to do so.
Schumer’s insistence on fairness may fall on deaf ears. Per prior reporting from HillReporter.com, McConnell admitted himself to be working “in total coordination with the White House” on strategy regarding the Senate trial.
“We know how it’s going to end. There’s no chance the president’s going to be removed from office,” McConnell said in a recent Fox News interview.