The Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump will begin as early as Tuesday this week, and many are wondering: will there (or won’t there) be a vote that will allow additional witnesses and pieces of evidence to be considered?
By all accounts, Republicans supportive of Trump don’t want such a vote to take place, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that new witnesses won’t be allowed in the chamber during the trial phase of impeachment. But Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are pushing forward with votes on the matter, which will force Senators to make clear their position on the matter.
“We have the right to do it, we are going to do it and we are going to do it at the beginning on Tuesday if leader McConnell doesn’t call for these witnesses in his proposal,” Schumer said on Sunday, per reporting from The Guardian.
No one is really sure how such a vote would go. There are Republicans, for instance, like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who has seemingly indicated he would be open to consideration of more witnesses, including hearing from former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Democrats will force votes on witnesses and documents.
Trials have witnesses and documents.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 20, 2020
And then there’s the political risk that’s involved if certain Republicans vote against hearing from witnesses. As it stands right now, nearly 3-in-5 Americans want the Senate to allow more testimony to be heard in the impeachment trial, according to a Morning Consult/Politico poll released earlier this month. Fewer than 1-in-4 saying they’re against the idea.
That could spell trouble for a number of Republican incumbents hoping to win re-election in the U.S. Senate later this year. Three Republicans are seats that are considered “toss-ups” for this November’s election, according to the Cook Political Report, including Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins.
Americans, for the most part, are hoping that the Senate trial will include additional testimony and evidence entered into the record. Such pressure could result in wayward senators to vote alongside Democrats in favor of the idea — particularly those hoping to stay in office beyond 2020.