A small group of senators and aides have reportedly begun discussing the possibility of a backdoor witness deal in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
The deal proposes to trade the testimony of Hunter Biden, or even 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden, for that of former National Security Adviser John Bolton and possibly other Trump administration officials, according to a report from The Washington Post.
Democrat senators: Biden for Bolton
Most Democrats have refused to consider having either Biden testify, calling their testimonies irrelevant to the issues surrounding whether Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress. A few, however, think that having Biden testify could backfire on Trump and highlight the fact that he — as they think — tried to get Ukraine to investigate his political rival.
The discussion has been closely held to this point, but a few senators have gone on the record about their views.
“I can’t imagine a person more comfortable in the well of the Senate than a man who spent 36 years here as a United States senator,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) told the Post.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) opined: “If there are four Republicans who open the conversation about witnesses, then I assume there will be a negotiation that follows — but I can’t tell you where it goes.”
The senators are predicating their expectation of a deal, however, on several circumstances that haven’t yet been determined or have already been shot down by Republicans and Trump.
There may not be four senators who would vote to call witnesses under any circumstances. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has allowed for that possibility, since several senators are saying they want to hear the arguments from both sides before making that decision.
In addition, Trump has already said he would exert executive privilege to prevent Bolton from testifying, according to USA Today. He doesn’t have anything to hide and wants to hear what Bolton would say, but he said he needs to protect future presidents’ rights and really has no choice.
Good luck, Dems
Democrats have an uphill battle to convict Trump on the articles of impeachment presented. No actual crime has even been alleged, and public support remains with Trump, which gives Republicans every reason to stick together and acquit him resoundingly.
Of course, they are going to make as big of a stink as they can, but the public has already seen that it’s much ado about nothing, so their exaggerated rhetoric is unlikely to change many minds.
Even Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who we all know would love to see Trump go down, knows it could be political suicide to come out against him under these circumstances. Meanwhile, it’s nice to see Trump be able to defend himself at last — to make his best argument against these spurious charges and be vindicated after months of biased grandstanding in the House.