Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., threatened to force a vote to call Hunter Biden to testify at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial as news broke that there are now enough Republican votes to support Democratic demands for witnesses.
The White House expects at least four Republicans to defect and vote with Democrats to call for witnesses at Trump’s trial, senior officials told CBS News. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told reporters last week that she was working with a “fairly small group” of Republicans to allow witnesses. Collins is expected to be joined by Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, according to the report. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has said that he is “open” to calling witnesses, as well.
“Barring some sort of surprise, I’ll vote in favor of hearing witnesses,” Romney said Monday, adding that he wanted to hear from former national security adviser John Bolton.
Trump told Fox News last week that he would likely invoke executive privilege in an effort to bar Bolton from testifying, arguing that such a move would “protect the office” of the presidency.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., revealed last week that he had the votes to start a trial without witnesses but would allow a vote on witnesses after it kicked off. Democrats need just four Republican defectors in order to approve a motion to call for witnesses.
White House officials also do not believe there are enough votes for an immediate dismissal of the articles of impeachment, according to CBS. Trump called for the Senate to dismiss the articles over the weekend.
“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!” he tweeted Sunday.
Paul responded to the report of Republican defections by threatening to force a vote on calling Hunter Biden, who is at the heart of a debunked conspiracy theory that led to Trump’s impeachment.
“My colleagues can’t have it both ways. Calling for some, while blocking others,” he tweeted. “If we are going to give a platform to witnesses the Dems demand, I look forward to forcing votes to call Hunter Biden and many more!”
Paul made a similar threat during a party lunch last week, Politico reported.
McConnell told Fox News Radio last month that he opposed calling witnesses, because it would pave the way for a “kind of mutual assured destruction.” The majority leader said his party’s members would “want” both Biden and the whistleblower.
Trump went even further on Twitter, demanding Sunday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, both Democrats from California, be called as witnesses.
But Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, dismissed Trump’s demand as an “intervening tweet.”
“This is about Chuck Schumer getting 2020 Republican incumbents into tough voting situations,” Cornyn said to Politico. “It won’t surprise you that we’re thinking about that too and how to avoid that as much as possible.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told ABC News that the renewed push for witnesses was the result of Pelosi withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate. Pelosi has since announced a Wednesday vote to move forward with the impeachment process.
“Some of the Republicans are now beginning to say, maybe we need witnesses and documents,” he said. “Had Nancy sent the stuff right over and McConnell moved to dismiss, who knows what would have happened?”
But McConnell slammed the calls for additional witnesses on the Senate floor Tuesday.
“If the existing case is strong, there’s no need for the judge and the jury to reopen the investigation,” he said. “If the existing case is weak, House Democrats should not have impeached in the first place.”
Schumer said on the Senate floor that a trial without would be a “sham.”
“All we’re asking is for the president’s own men, his appointees, to come forward and tell their side of the story,” Schumer said. “The American people want a fair trial in the Senate . . . The American people will be able to tell the difference between a fair hearing of the facts and a cover-up.”
White House adviser warned colleagues Nancy Pelosi would eventually bring Trump down: ‘She’s an assassin’
In an excerpt from the new book "A Very Stable Genius," former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon predicted that now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would eventually attempt to bring the president down one way or the other.
According to Axios, the book states, "The night of January 23 , the first Monday of his presidency, Trump came face?to?face with House and Senate leaders from both parties at a White House reception ... At a long table in the State Dining Room, Steve Bannon ... could not stop looking at Nancy Pelosi..."
‘Dopes and babies!’ Trump unleashed expletive-filled rant at military leaders after growing bored in Pentagon meeting: report
President Donald Trump erupted during a briefing intended to teach him the basic fundamentals of U.S. foreign policy -- and essentially ended any hope that he would ever learn them.
Six months into his presidency, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were frustrated and alarmed by the gaps in Trump's knowledge of world affairs, and they scheduled a Pentagon briefing to catch him up, reported the Washington Post.
Rick Santorum flattened by CNN’s Berman after calling Parnas bombshell revelations ‘extraneous’ to impeachment
Rick Santorum and CNN's John Berman got into a frantic back-and-forth on Friday morning after the former Republican senator attempted to dismiss the revelations by former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas as something that should not be submitted as evidence in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
Discussing the Senate trial expected to start next week, Santorum said the only testimony and witnesses that should be allowed are ones that came up in the earlier House hearings.
"The House's responsibility to bring to us a case," Santorum stated. "They're the one who is said these are offenses that are worthy of the president being removed from office; here is the record, here are the charges. The Senate didn't impeach, the House did, so we are going to look at the record the House presented us. We're going to look at the witnesses and say are there are questions that we have for the people that brought this case forward and relied on these witnesses and look at their testimony."