With a House vote on impeachment a few days away, the obligatory dealmaking in the Senate is beginning with Chuck Schumer wanting former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton and Acting WH Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to testify before the Senate trial.
The top Senate Democrat on Sunday called for subpoenaing several senior Trump administration officials who have yet to testify in the House’s impeachment probe as witnesses for President Trump’s impeachment trial — part of an opening salvo in negotiations that could determine the parameters for the Senate proceedings next month.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) outlined a number of procedural demands that Democrats believe would make the Senate trial fair and completed “within a reasonable period of time.”
That includes subpoenas issued by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; Robert Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney; former national security adviser John Bolton; and Michael Duffey, a top official at the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney, Blair and Duffey had been subpoenaed by the House committees and defied the summons; Bolton has not been subpoenaed but indicated he would fight one in court.
“The trial must be one that not only hears all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly; it must also pass the fairness test with the American people,” Schumer wrote to McConnell in the letter sent Sunday. “That is the great challenge for the Senate in the coming weeks.”
Under Schumer’s proposal, the trial proceedings would begin Jan. 6, although Roberts and the senators won’t be sworn in until Jan. 7 and House impeachment managers would begin their presentations on Jan. 9.
The proposal on witnesses is almost certain to draw the most resistance from McConnell. The top Senate Republican, as well as a growing consensus of GOP senators, would prefer not to call the type of high-wattage witnesses that Trump has demanded — such as Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, and the whistleblower, whose complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry — and McConnell has warned privately that a battle over witnesses would be “mutually assured destruction.”
We all know Mitch McConnell wants the entire proceeding to be dismissed with a single vote, but there is the slim possibility that a few Republican senators could want the appearance of justice even if they don't want to dispense any.
Even FOX News has impeachment at 54%. Besides, Trump himself could insist on something like a trial. After all, it's his legacy going down in flames for good this week.
McConnell will almost certainly lard up the witness stand with everyone from Joe Biden to Adam Schiff to the whistleblower to hell, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama if he's forced to.
I don't see that happening, however. I see the Senate trial being over by January 17, if it even makes it to the second week.