‘If we don’t agree on a set of rules before the articles arrive over here, I think we’re cooked…’
Concerned that the Senate GOP will hold a vote to acquit President Donald Trump as soon as the impeachment trial begins, Democrats want to prevent McConnell from rushing through the impeachment process.
“If we don’t agree on a set of rules before the articles arrive over here, I think we’re cooked,” one Democratic senator told The Hill. “I think McConnell has his people totally in line. It will be a procedural thing.”
Ironically, their complaint largely echoes those made by House Republicans that Democrats refused to extend due process rights during Rep. Adam Schiff‘s House Intelligence Committee hearings.
The fair rules package is a reasonable request considering the Democratic Party has some control over when the articles of impeachment move to the Senate, said another Democratic lawmaker.
“There’s no requirement the impeachment articles be sent here within any particular time. But certainly we don’t want delay just for the sake of delay,” the lawmaker said.
McConnell is unlikely to lend a sympathetic ear, nor to worry about the House forestalling its vote. The farther it pushes into the 2020 campaign season, the greater the risk is that a trial will force Senate Democrats in the 2020 primary race to forgo crucial campaigning.
Many Republicans are calling for a lengthy trial that allows the president to fully lay out his defense against the hereto unanswered partisan smears from the House.
Subpoenas are likely for the so-called whistleblower at the heart of the accusations, as well as Joe and Hunter Biden, whose shady business dealings and abuse of power in Ukraine were what prompted Trump to ask a “favor” of the Ukrainian president.
“They’ll pass whatever rules they want, and so we need to determine for a fair trial what witnesses we want, what documents we want,” griped the unnamed Democratic senator. “… I think our maximum leverage of getting what we want is now, before the articles come over.”
To make their case even stronger, Democrats need to hear from Trump’s witnesses, said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who is also a 2020 presidential candidate.
“I think we should have witnesses, and I think that the way we hear from the witnesses will be determined by negotiations,” Klobuchar said. “I would most like to hear from all the president’s men.”
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the Senate trial should also include White House documents that House Democrats weren’t able to obtain.
“We do need to admit we don’t have a full record,” he said. “The White House has engaged in unprecedented obstruction regarding documents and witnesses,” he accused, despite the trove of pertinent investigative documents the White House voluntarily provided.
It is unclear what relevant documents Murphy was referring to that pertained to the charges of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” planned by the House.
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.