This Tuesday, the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump got underway with opening arguments from both the managers of the House’s impeachment case and the president’s impeachment defense team. Those arguments culminated in the Republican majority in the Senate approving rules for the trial that did not immediately lay out any opportunity to hear from witnesses, but Democratic impeachment case managers remained resolute anyway. In brief remarks to reporters before day two of arguments kicked off on Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman and impeachment case co-manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) insisted that their case is solid and it’s up to Republicans to choose whether or not to bury their heads in the sand.
That includes on the issue of hearing from very relevant witnesses and evidence that can provide a firsthand perspective on the president’s scheme to bribe Ukraine into investigating his opponents.
‘Yesterday, we feel that we laid out a very powerful case for why this trial should be no different than any other trial in America… the House should have the opportunity to prove our case… but the Senate should allow us a fair trial. The Senate should allow us a trial that’s fair to the American people.’
The subject of the impeachment trial bragged that the material exists, is in his possession and has been withheld from Congress. But, sure, let's hear more about how there's no need for witnesses and records from a Senate majority whose members swore an oath they didn't mean. https://t.co/cunePFcVoQ
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) January 22, 2020
Yet, Republican Senators did not listen, and as Schiff noted, they obstructed fairness with the de facto approval of the president himself. The intel chairman continued:
‘The president bragged that he thought things were going well because they have all the materials — well indeed they do have the material hidden from the American people. That is nothing to brag about. And if the Senators are serious about wanting to learn all the facts, if the president’s team wants to contest any of the facts, these documents and witnesses will need to be produced.’
Besides noting that in general, he believes that the House has developed an “overwhelming case” against the president, the intel chairman also noted how the impeachment case managers had proposed having U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who’s presiding over the trial, rule on whether or not summoned witnesses were relevant before being called. But, in light of their apparent acute awareness of how solidly the facts are lined up against them, the president’s side turned that down.
But Dems are continuing anyway. And as Schiff noted, down in reality, large portions of Americans are on their side. A poll released just recently by CNN revealed that 51 percent of Americans want the Senate to convict and remove the president from office during this trial.
‘The American people overwhelmingly want to hear from these witnesses and for a very good reason — because they can shed light on the president’s misconduct… I do expect the American people are watching and the American people are listening, and they do have an open mind, and it’s those Americans we’re talking to also… We’re trying this case to two juries: the Senate, and the American people.’
The witnesses that Democrats are after include Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton and his current White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. But it’s an open question whether Republicans will vote to approve those witnesses when opening arguments conclude.