Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists House Democrats made a strong case for impeaching President Donald Trump, but the push for additional witnesses in the coming Senate trial betrays this assessment.
Despite the California Democrat’s efforts to dictate proceeding in the upper chamber, the gamesmanship she is counting on will now be left to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who doesn’t fare too well in going up against his Republican counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
That doesn’t mean the top Senate Democrat isn’t scheming, though.
“Schumer will force a series of votes designed to squeeze vulnerable Republicans and harm them on the campaign trail if they side with Trump,” Politico reported Monday.
The reporters behind the story inform readers that McConnell “has locked up enough Republican votes to ignore demands for a bipartisan framework for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.”
(Surely, they recoiled over the Democrats’ one-sided secret House proceedings that took place in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.)
The tactic Schumer will employ is said to center on motions to hear new evidence and witness testimony.
More from Politico:
Democrats argue the half-dozen at-risk GOP senators will need some daylight between them and Trump to get reelected. And if they vote against Schumer’s motions to hear new evidence and witness testimony, they’ll be seen as Trump sycophants — undermining their bids and boosting Schumer’s odds of becoming majority leader.
Ironically, Sen. Susan Collins, the liberal weak-kneed Republican from Maine, is being billed in the article as working to “blunt Schumer’s tactics.”
How so? By delivering what Democrats want under the GOP banner.
We’re told Collins is “working with a handful of Republicans to keep a pathway open for witnesses, flashing some independence from Trump and McConnell.”
“I am hopeful that we can reach an agreement on how to proceed with the trial that will allow the opportunity for witnesses for both the House managers and the president’s counsel if they choose,” she told Politico in a statement. “It is unfortunate that Chuck Schumer — who voted against witnesses in the Clinton trial and prejudged its outcome — and his allies are seeking to politicize this process.”
Meanwhile, McConnell is believed to have the votes necessary to begin a trial without guaranteeing testimony, as he pursues a strategy of following the precedent of former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, where a decision on witnesses came later.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had the best quote on Schumer.
“Everybody believes Sen. Schumer’s going to play a game with impeachment to try and get back the Senate,” he said. “He wakes up every day trying to be the majority leader.”
Those who claim they made the case against Trump are saying the Senate process is a “sham” if additional witnesses aren’t allowed.
“If McConnell succeeds in making this trial a trial without witnesses, that’s not a fair trial — that’s a sham,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Pelosi intimated on Sunday that if House Democrats don’t like the Senate outcome — an acquittal is very likely, given that 20 Republicans will be needed to convict — they may start the whole process over with new articles of impeachment against Trump.
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