Trump and his House Republican proxies have been demanding that the Senate turn the impeachment trial into a circus, but Senat Republicans are saying no.
“You got two different bodies here,” Graham, a stalwart Trump ally, told reporters on Thursday. “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.”
Senate GOP leaders have signaled they intend to defend Trump wholeheartedly, but they’re also loath to let the upper chamber descend into chaos or divide their caucus ahead of a tough 2020 cycle. And even if Senate Republicans wanted to embrace the hard-line posture of the House, the party’s narrow majority makes that all but impossible under Senate rules.
Calling controversial witnesses will require near lockstep party unity from 51 of the 53 Senate Republicans to make any procedural maneuvers, a tough task given the diverse views in the GOP, according to senators and aides.
In other words, that’s a no to calling Adam Schiff to testify, as Trump and House Republicans have been screaming about for weeks. Senate Republicans also don’t want to call the Bidens to testify, which was part of the Republican witness list for the House Intelligence Committee impeachment hearings.
Republicans have a three-seat majority, and at least three incumbent Senators in North Carolina, Maine, and Colorado who are in grave danger of losing their seats. There are also Senate seats in Arizona and Iowa that could be in play.
The one consistency in Mitch McConnell’s behavior, beyond obstruction, is that he will not do anything to create additional jeopardy for his endangered incumbents. The Senate impeachment trial of Trump may only be a couple of weeks long, but since witnesses have to be voted on by the Senate, look for Republicans to avoid any votes that might come back to haunt them in 2020.
Donald Trump’s conspiracy circus won’t be coming to the Senate in January 2020.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association