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Graham Shuts Down House GOP Wishlist for Schiff, Pelosi, and Bidens to Testify

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Graham Shuts Down House GOP Wishlist for Schiff, Pelosi, and Bidens to Testify

2019-12-06 17:28:12

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Lindsey Graham (Image source: Screenshot)

 

 

With the impeachment of Donald Trump expected to move to the Senate before the end of the year, it's causing the GOP to splinter between the two chambers in Congress. House Republicans are ready to fight after feeling things didn't go their way with the House impeachment hearings, yet Republican Senate leaders don't in particular want the turmoil in the Senate trial, as their majority is slim, and if just a few get disgusted and defect, things could go south for the president very quickly. 

A few Republican congressmen, as well as the president, were issuing demands of who they want to see testify. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) is demanding that the phone records of House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) be subpoenaed. Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (D-SC) answered, "We're not going to do that."

 

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) weighed in as well. "I'm talking to my Senate colleagues: here are the witnesses you should call, and here are the questions you should ask," he said. "It's going to cast us in a different very light. This is a chance to tell the other side of the story." 

Even Trump himself weighed in. He tweeted on Thursday that he wants to call Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), former Vice President and current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, as well as his son Hunter Biden, as witnesses in his impeachment trial.

 

"You got two different bodies here," said Graham with respect to the different wishes between the House and the Senate. "Are we going to start calling House members over here when we don't like what they say or do? I don't think so." 

While the Senate GOP leaders intend to fight for Trump and defend him of the charges of high crimes and misdemeanors, they also don't want the trial to become too chaotic with just a year to go before the 2020 election. With their narrow majority, they need to be very careful. They need 51 of the 53 Senate Republicans to vote down impeachment, and already Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has spoken out against Trump, saying early on that everyone knows it's wrong to ask a foreign entity to conduct investigations of your political opponents.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is also trying to keep everything calm. He's not issuing any bombastic opinions, which he's been prone to in the past. He's privately urging his fellow GOP senators to avoid divisive votes or impeachment motions, with others certainly wanting to keep control as well. 

"I don't feel like we necessarily need all of them. ... It becomes a big circus of people, and they call John Bolton, and we call Hunter Biden. Okay. We can do that," opined Sen. James Lankford (R-OK). "Is it needed to be able to make a decision based on the evidence we're looking at right now?"

 

"If you get into a long convoluted [process], this thing could drag on for a really long time," said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD). "If both sides get into a bunch of motions about who we bring, who [Democrats] bring, and we're having numerous votes on that? I think that's something, I think, in the end, neither side is probably going to be crazy about." 

McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) met to try to work out a deal over the different parameters for the impeachment trial. But it seems McConnell also needs to work things out within his own party, both in the Senate and the House, just to make sure everyone is on the same page, the president included. If he starts throwing out wild tweets and saying the wrong thing, as he's prone to do, it could tank the whole thing for him.

 

"I would be cautious about limiting the witnesses [Trump] chooses to call. If he's on trial, he should have the right to call witnesses," believes Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a former opponent of Trump's in 2016. "I don't know how you go to an accused and say, 'We're not going to allow you to call certain witnesses.' That would make the whole process appear unfair." 

But Trump doesn't have the same ideas he or other Republicans would have about who should appear. Trump, who unlike many lawmakers is not and never was an attorney, has shown often that he does not understand how the law works. So following his suggestions blindly doesn't appear to be a good idea.

 

"What the administration wants is the ability to have the American people see what really happened, instead of what Adam Schiff has said had happened," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), explaining why they want to call some of the witnesses on the House GOP wishlist. 

"I don't know of anybody that would want that on either side," said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) of chances of turning the Senate trial into a circus. "Unless there's some earthquake that's unforeseen, the result is a foregone conclusion." His statement is worrisome as it is anyway, indicating he and others have already made up their minds and are only interested in bringing in witnesses to support his "foregone conclusion."

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