With the impeachment of President Donald Trump now heading toward a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has made it clear that he has no desire to hear testimony from any additional witnesses, the Washington Examiner reported.
Sen. Graham’s proposed prohibition of further testimony extends to requests from both Republicans and Democrats, despite President Trump’s previously expressed desire to obtain testimony from a number of individuals involved in the Ukraine controversy.
Graham says no to witnesses
On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House passed two articles of impeachment (along party lines) against the president — one for “abuse of power” and the other for “obstruction of Congress.” Now, Graham is anxious to put those articles to rest as soon as they can be taken up, most likely at some point in January.
There had been some talk by President Trump and his allies about calling upon certain witnesses during the upcoming trial, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the partisan ringleader of the impeachment inquiry, and Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, whose questionable business dealings in Ukraine sit at the heart of the entire impeachment charade.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has issued a demand for testimony during the trial from a number of White House officials, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already rejected that request, ABC News reports.
Speedy trial desired
When it comes to the requests for additional witness testimony, however, Graham said on Wednesday: “I’m going to tell the president, ‘no,’ to his witnesses request because I think what is best for the country is to get this behind us as soon as possible.
“I know a lot of people on the president’s team want to call Hunter Biden and Joe Biden,” the senator continued. Hinting at potential committee hearings in the near future, he added: “And we can look at those accusations outside of impeachment.”
Graham made it clear that he would also oppose any witnesses called upon by Schumer and the Democrats as well, insisting that the articles passed by the House be voted on as-is.
“I’m not going to support witnesses being called by the president. I’m not going to support witnesses being called by Sen. Schumer,” he explained. “We are going to vote on the same product the House used for a final vote, and I think most senators are ready to move forward at the appropriate time.”
No dismissal, just a vote
Sen. Graham also put to rest rumors that the Republican majority would summarily dismiss the articles of impeachment without ever taking them up. “I don’t want a motion to dismiss,” he said. “I want a vote on the articles themselves… There is a desire by senators to get this chapter closed and move forward.”
Assuming all 100 senators participate in the impeachment trial and considering the two-thirds requirement to achieve conviction and removal, the 47-member Democrat minority would need 20 Republicans to cross the aisle and vote against President Trump, which is an extraordinarily unlikely proposition.
As for calling witnesses during that trial, however, a simple majority is all that is needed, meaning Schumer will undoubtedly be searching for four Republicans to join him in prolonging the trial. That seems far more reachable than the 20 necessary for conviction, but chances of success there are also slim.