As the U.S. Senate readies itself to begin the official impeachment trial for President Donald Trump, Democrats within that body are making a strong case for allowing more evidence and witness testimony to be included.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and most Republicans are against that idea. A few Republicans, however, are showing an openness to break away from their ranks and join Democrats on their calls for allowing more evidence to be considered, though they may not vote in favor of indicting Trump in the long-run.
Sen. Kamala Harris, a former Democratic candidate for president who dropped out of the race last month, spoke at a press conference alongside other Democratic senators on Thursday, insisting that allowing more evidence and witnesses to speak should be a no-brainer. Denying those conditions is detrimental to the future of this country, she added.
“I would argue that not only is this an impeachment trial, but that the very integrity of the United States Senate is on trial,” Harris said in her statements. “What is before us are charges that are arguably the most serious charges that have ever been leveled against a President of the United States.”
This isn’t just an impeachment trial—the very integrity of the United States Senate is on trial. pic.twitter.com/F1Qk4pCQS4
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) January 16, 2020
It is vital, in order for a fair and just trial to proceed, for new evidence and witnesses to be allowed, Harris argued.
“[Senators must demand] that the American public and each member of this body receive all evidence — documents and individuals who are witnesses — so that we can engage in a fair deliberation and make a decision that reflects the ideals and the values and the very principles of the United States system of justice,” the senator from California said.
The American public tends to agree with Harris and Democrats in general on the subject. According to a Morning Consult/Politico poll released earlier this month, 57 percent of the American public said additional witness testimony in particular should be allowed in the Senate impeachment trial. Only 24 percent of respondents disagreed.
Even among Republican-leaning respondents taking part in the poll, more were in favor of additional witnesses (40 percent) than were not (39 percent).