For Democrats seeking a “fair” impeachment trial, the name of the game is this: witnesses for me, but not for thee.
As they ramp up pressure on Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to let them call additional witnesses, Democrats want to be absolutely clear that the witnesses Republicans want to call are not germane to the discussion. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) told CNN Newsroom that Hunter Biden’s testimony in particular would be “irrelevant” to the impeachment trial, Breitbart reported.
Hunter Biden’s testimony “irrelevant”
Congress is at an impasse after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) withheld impeachment articles from the Senate — and now Pelosi and McConnell both insist that the other chamber must act first in order to proceed. Pelosi says that she is waiting for McConnell to lay out the conditions for a trial before she sends articles of impeachment to the upper house, but McConnell has been clear that he can wait forever if needed to bring the impeachment to trial.
At issue is Pelosi’s insistence that Republicans provide a “fair” proceeding after McConnell shot down requests from Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to call John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney and other witnesses. But Democrats don’t seem to have much interest in letting Republicans call witnesses of their choice..
“As you well know, having the Bidens testify is really irrelevant to the core impeachment articles of abuse of power here. But look, if they want to put that into the mix, that can obviously become part of the discussion,” Van Hollen said, when asked if Biden should be called.
President Trump has said that he wants an opportunity to defend himself after months of what he has compared to a witch trial, and while McConnell says he’s not eager for a lengthy trial, he hasn’t ruled out calling witnesses either. Republicans in the House tried unsuccessfully to have Democrats let them call Hunter Biden, the whistleblower and Adam Schiff (D-CA), but many have hoped that Republicans would experience a turn of fortunes in the Senate, where they have a majority.
Fairness for me, but not for thee
But now that Republicans are taking control, Democrats are singing a complicated tune — at once calling for “fairness” while seeking to keep any inconvenient witnesses far away from the spectacle, impeaching Trump and at the same time suspending the process.
While Democrats hope that calling additional witnesses will turn the tide against the president in the Senate, Republicans say they have no obligation to give a thorough hearing of a case already tainted by partisan prejudice.
Trump and his Republican allies have said that Pelosi’s delay shows she lacks the confidence of her convictions, and some Republicans have begun to argue that she is usurping the legitimate power of the Senate to preside over the trial. Republicans sense that they have the leverage anyway, and they’ve made it clear that they’re more than willing to let this impasse go on forever.
“We can’t do anything until the speaker sends the papers over, so, everybody, enjoy the holidays,” McConnell said on Fox News.
Meanwhile, to add to the Ukraine sandal, Hunter Biden is the subject of “fraud, money laundering and a counterfeiting scheme,” the New York Post reported.
Schumer has also dismissed calls for Hunter Biden to testify, calling the prospect a “distraction.” But from what?