With a House impeachment vote a foregone conclusion, the battle to remove President Trump from office has moved to the Senate. Minority Leader Charles Schumer grabbed control of the debate Monday with demands for what he called “fairness” in the president’s trial.

Schumer wants the Senate to allow testimony from four witnesses the House did not interview: former National Security Adviser John Bolton; acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney; key Mulvaney Aide Robert Blair; and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey. House Democratic impeachers wanted the men to testify, but after the White House, claiming privilege, refused, House leaders chose not to try to force them to appear. Going to court to compel their testimony, Democrats said, would take too much time.

Now Schumer wants the witnesses simply to forget about privilege questions and testify in the Senate trial.

”How, on such a weighty matter, could we avoid hearing this, could we go forward without hearing it?” Schumer asked at a news conference Monday. “I haven’t seen a single good argument about why these witnesses shouldn’t testify — unless the president has something to hide and his supporters want that information hidden.”

Republicans will respond that the Senate is not the place for fact-finding — that is, for senators to become investigators and do what the House declined to do.

Some will also note that the House chose not to seek the appointment of an outside investigator — a special counsel — to establish what happened in the Trump-Ukraine matter, and the Senate is ill-equipped to play that role.

Many will also argue that the facts of the case do not align with the Democratic accusation of bribery, and more testimony will not change that. Others will argue that they don’t believe what the president did rises to the level of an impeachable offense.

In other words, they will come up with a number of good arguments — perhaps not good arguments to Charles Schumer, but good arguments to Republicans — not to have any more witnesses.

Schumer is not trying to convince all 53 Senate Republicans to support his proposal. He just needs four. There are 47 Democrats in the Senate. If Schumer can persuade four GOP senators to join Democrats, they’ll have a majority of 51 and can force the calling of new witnesses. (Of course, Schumer is counting on Democrats voting as a bloc against the president, which is probably a good bet.)

If Schumer gets what he wants, it seems hard to believe that will be the end of it. The request for more witnesses appears designed to lead not to closure, but to re-opening the case against Trump in this way: If Democrats can introduce new testimony in the trial, they can say the new testimony has raised new questions that will require new investigation. And new investigation will require more new witnesses, which will surely lead to more new questions, which ...

Call it the Brett Kavanaugh model of impeachment. During the Supreme Court justice’s confirmation process, a hearing had already been held and Kavanaugh appeared on the way to joining the court. Then, up popped a new allegation — the Christine Blasey-Ford story — and Democrats demanded the case be re-opened, witnesses be interviewed, evidence be gathered, time be taken for more investigation. Republicans acceded to those demands, and the Kavanaugh confirmation careened off course for a while before GOP lawmakers finally got it back on track.

It is not beyond imagination that a Senate impeachment trial, were it controlled by Schumer and his Democratic colleagues, might take a similarly unforeseen course. Beyond new witnesses, there are plenty of ways that could happen.

For example: On Monday, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee told a federal court it is essential that grand-jury materials from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation be given to House investigators. Why? Because it might help the impeachment effort. “If the House approves articles of impeachment,” the lawyers argued, “relevant grand-jury material that the committee obtains in this litigation could be used during the subsequent Senate proceedings.”

If the Judiciary Committee receives the information, there is little doubt its leaders will work with Senate Democrats to create the impression that there is new evidence so compelling that it absolutely must be included in the impeachment trial. And if Republicans disagree — what are they trying to hide?

Indeed, Schumer and his colleagues have prepared the way to characterize any move to limit the trial’s scope as an effort to hide wrongdoing from the American people. “To engage in a trial without the facts coming out is to engage in a cover-up,” he said Monday.

The bottom line is, Republicans should not believe for one minute that the campaign to remove the president will rely only on the case Democrats have built in the House. Schumer and other party leaders will scramble for new information to throw at the president, and at Republicans, until it is over. The GOP, and the White House, need to be ready.

— Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

(18) comments

Wolves36

I just want to know why the Emporia Gazette only post the liberal point of view when it comes to President Trump. Could Trump be right and all media sources are against him. Since Trump has been elected I have never seen a positive article about him in this paper. Even if you hate Trump he has done some good things for America.

Aim_High

Byron York is the chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, a Fox News contributor and the author of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. Hardly sounds like a liberal to me.

ibtirish

after 2016 I went from $15 hr to $20 hr by 2017 now I am making $28hr an set to get a company wide raise in Jan 2020 , But hey Unkraine rite so impeach an screw that all up cause somtin somthin James Madison an some professor said

Aim_High

Congrats but it's foolish to contribute $13 an hour in raises over 3 years to president Trump. It's probably got more to do with YOU. If the average wage went up $13, that would be different, but wages have went up 2.4% since Trump took office, which amounts to an average of $7 per week on average. I agree Pelosi shouldn't really withhold Trumps impeachment from the senate indefinitely... but the right to a speedy trial clause protects the defendant from delay between the presentation of the indictment in the Senate and the beginning of the trial, so that right isn't afforded until Pelosi sends it over.

Also the prosecution generally has 60 to 120 days to bring an IMPRISONED defendant to trial unless the defendant waives the right to a speedy trial. The time period is generally longer for a defendant out of custody. So constitutionally speaking everything is still hunky dory.

Kansasforever

Third straight year of over 2% gdp growth. First since 06.

Gary Lukert

2.4 PER CENT ON $13 EQUALS 32 CENTS AN HOUR, not $7. What are you and Trump Smoking? Well, Trump has never uttered a word of Truth...

Kansasforever

Must agree. My iras are up 60% since trump took office and according to creepy joe the middle class is getting CRUSHED. Guess he didn’t weed the WSJ that bonuses for manufacturing jobs this year would set a record.

Gary Lukert

Hunh? What is this garbage? Trump broke the law. Trump is guilty of Treason? Likely has had people killed? You prefer Barabbas...to Jesus Christ, right?

.

Kansasforever

He didn’t break any law. Not charged for treason. No aid withheld (be it a corrupt country). If he committed a crime charge him but quit spouting rubbish

Aim_High

Ummm... The White House had $400 million in aid to Ukraine withheld just 90 minutes after Trumps call to Zelenskiy, when he asked for an investigation into Hunter Biden. Trump has told those with direct knowledge of his request to Zelenskiy to ignore subpoenas from the House, and now McConnell is trying to prevent them (or anyone) from testifying in Trumps "trial" in the senate. This phone call to Zelenskiy took place July 25th, and Trump released the aid on Sept. 11th, after hearing about the whistleblower complaint... so "no aid withheld" is not a true statement, and Trumps withholding of aid violated the Impoundment Control Act, as well as the constitution by undermining Congress' power of the purse.

Now if you're a Republican, you can jump through mental hoops to say Trump didn't break any law, but any rational person can see what happened here isn't right. Pretty sad how Republicans were quick to impeach over a blowjob, but are jumping through hoops to defend this much more serious situation.

ibtirish

A Fair an speedy Trail. is afforded to the ACCUSED not the prosecution. Dems must impeach because they connote win on they're proposed programs , Even G lukert knows that

Alfred

They should follow the same rules they had for President Clinton's impeachment. Fair is fair. Also, if the house wanted these witnesses to testify, they should have gone through the courts like they did with President Nixon, or had a special prosecutor like Ken Star for President Clinton. With regards that it was an urgent that they get President Trump impeached, so they could not wait for the courts, or a special prosecutor, well it seems they are not in a hurry at all sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

SnowGypsy

The House should have forced the witnesses that they felt were important to testify. They say that it would have taken too long to go through the courts, but at this point, that "imminent" danger that President Trump was to the nation is on hold for Christmas vacation at least, and perhaps beyond as Pelosi demands to run the trial in the Senate from her seat in the House! No hurry now it seems. The Senate simply needs to apply the same rules as they did in the Clinton case to be fair. The House has done their job, well, have put themselves between "a rock and a hard place" with this impeachment lite, and now, they need to allow the Senate to do their job. Pelosi is such a horse's behind and is dragging the party through the mud, while hungry Republicans waiting to take a seat in the House stand by for November 2020. The Democrats' strategy in this is laughable, and has simply given President Trump even more ammunition about the foolish of this impeachment lite! How embarrassing for the rational individuals that call themselves "Democrats".

Aim_High

You should really pay better attention... The house subpoenaed the witnesses they felt were important and Trump told them to ignore Congressional subpoenas. This is why Trump was impeached for obstruction of Congress... but sure. if I had no argument I'd go with "The House should have forced the witnesses that they felt were important to testify" The fact not a single Republican voted Yea on obstruction after Trump ordered his people to obstruct is disgusting. I've always voted based on policy and not party, but I will no longer be voting for ANY republicans until they show they have respect for the law and our country. Their blind allegiance is SAAAD!

Nancy is doing what's best for the people by not sending anything to the senate until Mitch agrees to have witnesses... this is forcing them to testify... so I guess you and Nancy are in agreement there. Moscow Mitch said the senate trial would have 0 witnesses, and would be very quick. This was right after he complained about the House 12 week inquiry being "rushed"

Sadly the Republicans most viable candidate is a man who has been impeached. The Republican party is now a joke.

BigRed

And yet the Supreme Court has ruled that Trump is afforded due process under the law to take the subpoenas before the court and let the court determine whether they are valid. So, the House has impeached Trump for exercising his legal right as ruled on by the Supreme Court. Not a smart move.

Aim_High

Those 3 subpoenas you speak of are for financial records from President Trump's longtime personal accountants, his tax returns, and from banks he did business with. They've already been upheld by 3 lower courts... None of these cases involve the conduct at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. The house impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of congress for his actions with Ukraine and his instructions to his associates to ignore congressional subpoenas.

Kansasforever

Sadly creepy joe and the socialists have no clue about the economy jobs and wages. So even a candidate like trump as you say has a very good chance of reelection

Aim_High

If I was guilty, I wouldn't want any witnesses testifying either. Republicans have been doing what guilty people do throughout the entire process.

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