Mitch McConnell just dealt a blow to Democrats seeking to create a different standard for Trump’s impeachment trial than they sought for Clinton’s trial.
McConnell said he has enough support from fellow Senators to move forward with the same set of rules as was used with Bill Clinton, as Reuters reports:
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he had enough support from his fellow Republicans to set the rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, dealing a blow to Democrats’ efforts to call new witnesses against the president.
Democrats want several White House officials and Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton to testify at the trial in the Republican-controlled Senate about their knowledge of the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.
McConnell has resisted the idea, instead seeking a fast trial based on evidence collected in the House of Representatives before it voted last month to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
While Republicans are still divided over whether the Senate should eventually hear more testimony, the vast majority of them have agreed to leave the decision until after the trial has started, McConnell told a news conference.
Senator Lindsey Graham said 51 of the 53 Republicans in the Senate were backing that plan.
“We’ve got the votes necessary to start the trial using the Clinton model, which is good news,” Graham said, referring to an arrangement made during the 1999 impeachment trial of then-President Bill Clinton after Republicans and Democrats were similarly deadlocked over the question of witness testimony.
The House has charged Trump with abusing his power for personal gain by asking Ukraine to announce a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in November’s presidential election.
It also charged the president with obstructing Congress by directing administration officials and agencies not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.
Trump says he did nothing wrong and has dismissed his impeachment as a partisan bid to undo his 2016 election win.
Democrats say Bolton and the other new witnesses must be heard for the trial to be a fair one. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats would force votes during the trial to have new witnesses testify.
“Make no mistake, on the question of witnesses and documents, Republicans may run, but they can’t hide,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
The trial is likely to lead to Trump’s acquittal before the 2020 presidential election campaign heats up, as no Republicans have voiced support for removing him from office. A two-thirds majority of the Senate is needed to vote to oust a president.”
This is a good move, and it’s about time.
The country needs this to be over and done with as soon as possible.