Unlike House Democrats, who used unfair rules to prevent their Republican colleagues from having any say in the chamber’s impeachment proceedings last year, Senate Republicans appear intent on ensuring their colleagues are granted a say.
And so on Tuesday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz reportedly pitched the idea of “witness reciprocity,” an innovative solution that calls for each side being allowed to call an equal number of witnesses to testify in President Donald Trump’s upcoming trial.
If Senate Democrats were to choose to call former Trump administration National Security Adviser John Bolton, for instance, Republicans would, in turn, be allowed to call, say, former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter. Fair is fair, after all.
According to sources who spoke with Politico, Cruz’s colleagues liked the idea. So did Donald Trump Jr., for that matter:
I love @tedcruz’s plan of witness reciprocity.
The American people want to hear from #wheresHunter Biden, #sleepyJoe Biden, #fullofschiff, the phony “whistleblower” etc. much more than they do anyone on our side especially since the house had free reign of witnesses for months.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 15, 2020
“McConnell was open to that message. … Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) later raised the strategy to the broader Senate Republican Conference,” the outlet reported.
“Then shortly after, and echoing the message of Cruz and Paul, McConnell publicly warned Democrats that if they want to call additional witnesses during the proceedings, Republicans will counter with some of their own, and Democrats won’t like who’s on the GOP list.”
Again, fair is fair. Yet this idea — one designed to ensure that the GOP-led trial isn’t as unfair and unjust as the Democrat-led impeachment hearings — has already provoked outrage from members of the far-left who abide by a “my way or the highway” mentality and can’t stand the thought of Republicans being allowed to address the Bidens’ alleged corruption.
My ? Senator Ted Cruz @tedcruz floats idea of ‘witness reciprocity’ for Senate impeachment trial
He’s working to stop facts from coming out- and to cover up/ confuse by making it a ‘hunter Biden’ circus
FAIR TRIAL RELEVANT DOCS AND WITNESSES https://t.co/Z4aKSxpaHB
— Jan Forney ?? ? ? (@janforney1) January 15, 2020
@SenTedCruz You propose witness reciprocity- if Dems call Bolton, Trump can call H Biden. In what trial has the defense or prosecution been limited to the number of witnesses called by the opposing side? Also, witness testimony should be to relevant to the charges being tried.
— Maggie’s Mom (@MaggieMay2013) January 15, 2020
Reciprocity? GOP wants to drag Biden into this more than they have? Bolton is a key eye witness to the whole drug deal, Biden is the subject of the Impropriety that brought Impeachment. Would any testimony from him justify the POTUS actions as warranted? Who’s on trial @JoeBiden
— J. Leland Chase (@LelandChase5) January 15, 2020
Let’s talk about this reciprocity for a sec: the trial is over whether Trump extorted a foreign leader to help him in an election. Bolton is a witness of that. What does Hunter Biden have to do with it? https://t.co/MjSpUzoUbm
— Johannes Hibernus (@theopoliphil) January 15, 2020
The trial is not “over whether Trump extorted a foreign leader to help him in an election.” In fact, the articles of impeachment filed by the House last month contained nothing about bribery, as Democrats were unable to prove their quid pro quo narrative.
Speaking on FNC at the time, Cruz noted that the articles only alleged “abuse of power” and “obstruction,” two very nebulous charges.
“This is the first time in the history of our country that a president has been impeached without a single article alleging any criminal conduct,” he said.
“They don’t allege any crime. They don’t even allege any federal law violated,” he said. “This was, at the end of the day, a political response because Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats hate the president.”
(Source: Fox News)
Second, the Bidens’ corruption matters mightily because the Democrats’ entire impeachment drive was based on the belief that the president’s decision last summer to ask Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into their dealings was rooted in politics and not legitimate concerns about actual corruption.
Were Senate Republicans to call the Bidens to the stand, they could address these legitimate concerns directly and potentially determine once and for all whether the credible allegations against them are of merit.
Since Republicans run the Senate, they could, if they so desired, call the Bidens to testify and then turn around and deny the Democrats their witnesses. They’re unlikely to do that, however, since doing so would make them look just as petty and unfair as their Democrat colleagues.
That said, does the president have anything to fear from Republicans allowing Democrats to call some witnesses? Probably not, Fox News contributor Brit Hume suggested Tuesday.
“I think that witnesses could happen but make no mistake about what this is, this is a Hail Mary pass being encouraged mostly by a Democratic prosecution, House prosecutors who obviously don’t think the evidence they have introduced so far is sufficient for a conviction and they are trying at the last minute to get further witness testimony,” he said to network host Martha MacCallum.
“Think about it for a second, what do they know about what these witnesses will testify to? The answer is nothing. They don’t know what John Bolton would say or Mick Mulvaney or any of the rest of them. They don’t know what these people are going to say. They haven’t taken depositions. They haven’t interviewed them so they don’t know what they’re going to say. And how often does a competent prosecutor going to a case in the midst of a trial, call the witness that he hasn’t even interviewed?”
The Democrats “Hail Mary” prayer is that one of their last-minute witnesses — witnesses who should have been called to testify during the Democrat-led impeachment hearings last year — will drop the goods on the president.
But considering the Democrats’ track record thus far, that’s unlikely to happen.
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