Senate Republicans don’t have the 51 votes needed to call the Hunter Biden, or anyone associated with Trump’s favorite conspiracies to testify at his impeachment trial.
While Democrats who control the House are focused on a swift impeachment vote by year’s end, the White House is almost entirely consumed by the trial that would follow in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Mr. Trump’s team believes he would have the chance to defend himself and where Democrats would almost certainly fall short of the two-thirds vote they would need to remove him from office.
That proceeding, however, is also full of unknowns. At a meeting with senior White House officials and senators in the Roosevelt Room of the White House almost three weeks ago, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, made clear that there are not enough Senate votes to approve some of the edgier witnesses that Democrats and Republicans want to call. While he mentioned no names, it was interpreted by those in the room to refer to people like Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president, whom Mr. Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate.
The White House might not be able to get any of the witnesses that Trump wants to have testify at his impeachment trial, because the Senate has to vote on and approve each witness. The odds of Adam Schiff, the whistleblower, or Joe and Hunter Biden being called to testify are close to zero.
Democrats are going to have to find three Republicans who would vote to have White House officials with first-hand knowledge of the Ukraine scheme like Mick Mulvaney and Mike Pompeo testify.
Trump wants to use the impeachment trial to help his reelection campaign by pushing the Biden/Ukraine conspiracy, but if he can’t get his witnesses, the president could be in for a very long trial, even if the Senate fails to convict and remove him from office.
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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