Sen. Rand Paul warned his Republican colleagues to stand strong behind President Trump in the upcoming impeachment trial or risk political suicide as voters will be “very, very unhappy with them.”
The Kentucky lawmaker believes there will be a “political price to pay” for Republicans who vote to allow Democrats to call the witnesses of their choice in the process, telling The Gateway Pundit in an interview that he also would like for the impeachment trial to be over with quickly.
“What I keep trying to convince my colleagues, particularly the ones that might vote to allow the witnesses that the Democrats want to call, is that if they do that and they don’t vote to allow the president to bring his witnesses in, I think the Republican base and Trump supporters are going to be very, very unhappy with them,” Paul said.
“I think it will have electoral consequences — which is sort of my way of saying that maybe they should reconsider having any witnesses at all,” he added. “My hope is some will reconsider and we will just be done with one vote.”
But he reiterated the consequences for GOP lawmakers who do not back the president in the process.
“I also think there will be a political price to pay for this, even for Republicans running in purple states, there are strong pro-Trump presences in every purple state,” he said.
“It may not be 50 percent of the vote, but it’s a third of the vote or more. My guess is that those voters will not be too happy with the Republicans who vote to allow witnesses for the Democrats, but sits there and watches as witnesses the president would like to bring get voted down. I keep telling them it isn’t a threat coming from me, it’s me looking at the politics of this and saying look — you will lose your election,” Paul said.
“This is a big deal, I don’t usually lecture my colleagues, but they need to understand that they cannot win an election if they become estranged from the Trump base or Republican base of the party,” he added.
Paul has called to have the whistleblower, who complained about the president’s call last year with the Ukraine president, and Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, testify and said some of his colleagues agree but have been less open about it.
“There’s a lot of people who are quiet, so I’ve been kind of loud,” he said. “My goal in this is to be done with the impeachment as soon as possible, and probably the best way to do that is actually no witnesses — but, if we’re going to have witnesses we should have witnesses from both sides.”
Democrats have manipulated the process, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delaying delivery of the articles of impeachment to the Senate as a political ploy and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff suddenly fining “new evidence” against the president.
Schiff announces sudden new ‘impeachment evidence’ on eve of articles transfer https://t.co/nzxOUrB8EK
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 15, 2020
The goal for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to be to keep his party united and to block any additional witness testimony which could drag out the impeachment trial. The Kentucky GOP leader has called for a majority of 51 senators to approve each witness but Paul believes this will result in an unfair and biased list of witnesses which will not bode well for Trump.
“Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and the whistleblower may not pass a majority vote” if this is the process used to determine witnesses, Paul contended, adding that “if they end up approving witnesses like [former national security adviser John] Bolton, who I think are harmful, I will insist on a motion that says the president should get to call all witnesses that he or his team deem to be necessary to his defense.”
“I don’t want to limit it, I’m not his lawyer, I don’t want to tell him who he has to call — I’m just going to say, anyone. ‘Anyone’ includes people he has mentioned, like Hunter Biden and Joe Biden,” Paul told The Gateway Pundit.
The lawmaker argued that voters “smell corruption” and the trial process should include evidence of that.
“The evidence should be presented for their corruption. I think the evidence is pretty damning. The mainstream media just passes over that and says ‘oh well, it’s already been decided there’s no corruption and nothing to see here’, but in reality, most Americans hear that some politician’s son was being paid $50,000 a month and they smell corruption from a mile away,” he said.
Paul’s call for the whistleblower to testify was met with resistance from liberals and Democrats though he believes it is important to know the motivation behind the initial complaint filed, explaining that “it might well turn out that the whistleblower had an ax to grind with President Trump, but seemed to look the other way when it was Hunter Biden and this conflict of interest happening right before his very eyes. ”
“As you know, people kind of squawked when I said the whistleblower should come forward, so you can see how that may or may not get a majority of people to vote for it,” Paul added.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested Tuesday that the process could include a form of “witness reciprocity,” with each side allowed an equal number of witnesses.
Cruz’s ‘witness reciprocity’ for Senate impeachment trial takes off: Don Jr. cheers, Dems bewail https://t.co/4gBRR0vbA1
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 15, 2020
“If they aren’t going to let the president call who he wants, then we shouldn’t have any witnesses,” he reiterated, adding that he would support Trump’s call for Pelosi and Schiff to testify.
But he warned his colleagues who have balked at the idea of calling in witnesses as it would be a “distraction” and an “uncontrollable scenario with a lack of decorum.”
“That’s fine,” he said. “If they think that, then let’s have no witnesses. You can’t just have witnesses for one side and that is the point I am going to keep making both publicly and privately. It’s not fair to the president.”
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