As observers await Congress returning from their holiday break and taking up how exactly to proceed with the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, one Republican group is continuing their advocacy for fairness. This coming Monday, a video ad produced by Republicans for the Rule of Law — a name which you’d think wouldn’t be controversial! — will be airing on Fox News and packing a demand for key witnesses to be brought in for testimony. Those witnesses include former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and others, all of whom had a front row seat to Trump’s plot to get Ukraine to investigate his opponents in exchange for military aid and a summit in D.C.
"The witnesses must testify." This ad from Republicans for the Rule of Law is up in the states of key GOP senators; it will run on Fox nationally Monday. pic.twitter.com/eXUdnSBymr
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) December 28, 2019
The ad campaign also includes video messages running in the states of key Republican Senators including Mitt Romney (Utah), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) Most Republicans have declined to offer any kind of substantive public stand in favor of fairness, although Murkowski has called fellow Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan for total coordination with the White House during a trial “disturbing.” McConnell has also explicitly said that he will not be an “impartial juror” and has derided Democratic demands for additional witness testimony as setting up a “fishing expedition.”
Trump, for his part, has completely thrown his support behind those trying to obstruct the fair process. He’s even backed the idea of actively turning the process against Democrats and trying to punitively compel witnesses including House Democratic leaders themselves to testify during a trial. Republicans have also targeted the Bidens, and this week, former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden insisted that he would not blindly comply with a demand for testimony from the Republican majority in the Senate.
‘I have always complied with a lawful order… But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial… this impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine.’
Biden added that any “subpoenas should go to witnesses with testimony to offer to Trump’s shaking down the Ukraine government.” There’s no evidence of the kind of Biden corruption that Trump and his allies have alleged. What would Biden even testify about?
I want to clarify something I said yesterday. In my 40 years in public life, I have always complied with a lawful order and in my eight years as VP, my office — unlike Donald Trump and Mike Pence — cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight requests.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 28, 2019
The subpoenas should go to witnesses with testimony to offer to Trump’s shaking down the Ukraine government — they should go to the White House.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 28, 2019
Trump has tweeted:
‘We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!’
Is “cleaning the swamp” what he calls delaying military aid for an ally while he and his associates spend months demanding that they investigate Trump’s opponents?
…..trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019
While Republicans and Democrats have battled it out over impeachment trial provisions, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has delayed transmitting the impeachment case to the Senate, which Trump and his allies have falsely alleged is illegal. Still, at a recent press conference, Pelosi said that she doesn’t care what the Republicans are complaining about, so it’s not like she’s indicated she’ll just give up the case.