After weeks of behind-the-scenes debate, Senate Republicans have hit on their strategy for handling President Trump’s impeachment: a brief trial — with no witness testimony — and a fast acquittal.
“I’m ready to vote now,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) told The Hill. “I think the articles are a joke.”
But they don’t want to dismiss the House Democrats’ charges out of hand, as some Trump allies have proposed.
“It’s time for him to have his day in court,” Hawley said. “The president deserves to have due process.”
Trump, who was calling for a full-blown trial with multiple witnesses — including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter — just three weeks ago, now supports the Senate leadership’s plan.
“The facts belie the allegation and the facts speak very strongly for themselves,” Eric Ueland, White House director of legislative affairs, said last week.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is still pushing for a trial with testimony from witnesses like White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.
That’s not going to fly with Senate Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned.
“If we go down in the witness path, we’re going to want the whistleblower. We’re going to want Hunter Biden,” McConnell told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade last week. “You can see here that this is the kind of mutual assured destruction episode that will go on for a long time.”
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