Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced yesterday that he would leave the question of whether to call witnesses to the caretakers for decision. Meanwhile, various Democratic senators have said there is no need for witnesses, despite the House repeatedly acknowledging that it is unaware of any critical facts regarding Donald Trump’s state of mind. The position of Schumer and the Democrats stands in stark contrast to their positions in the last two impeachments.
Schumer has stated that the question of whether to call witnesses is left to the property managers: “We let the managers make the decisions and I try to implement them.”
This is not the position Schumer took 21 years ago when he and the Democrats refused to hear from witnesses. They refused to leave it to the caretakers. In fact, they did not want to go to trial at all and asked for dismissal, then refused to call witnesses despite requests from the property managers. Ultimately, they allowed a few testimonies and no live testimony. No witnesses were called in the first impeachment against Trump. Democrats wanted some witnesses but opposed others called for by the defense. They didn’t leave the question to the property managers.
What stands out this time around is that there were literally no records in the house. None. There was no hearing, no investigation. Just a quick impeachment. As we discussed earlier, the House could have held days of hearings and still indict Trump before leaving the White House on Jan. 20. (Trial of the Senate before Trump stepped down was not an option). They refused. Then four weeks passed, during which they could have called important witnesses to answer myriad questions. They refused again and decided to proceed without such direct evidence.
During the trial, both the House and Defense highlighted critical questions that have remained unanswered due to the lack of such statements. However, the Democratic senators don’t want to hear any more witnesses than the house. This is not due to regulatory objections to the use of rash impeachment. They have indicated that they do not need such answers to pronounce guilt.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y., said she had heard from enough people through “interviews and video presentations”. Of course, she has not heard a single affidavit as there is no such testimony despite the availability of direct testimony from witnesses who have already made public statements. Still, she said, “I feel we have heard from enough witnesses.”
Senator Angus King, I-Maine, said, “I think the case was made. I don’t know what witnesses would add. “That may be true since no one has ever deposed a witness. This is a case of ignorance rather than bliss when it comes to the desire to be convinced.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Tried a different tact, saying the defendant had the burden. She said Trump could come and “make his statement of the day” but “otherwise it feels like we’re done to me.”
Of course, the burden is on the house and they presented a completely awkward case about Trump’s state of mind, despite a dozen witnesses who could corroborate what he said and did during those critical hours. In fact, the Senate did not even see confirmation of whether Trump delayed the deployment of the National Guard, or whether the delay lies equally or more with others, including Congress, in preparing and responding to the protest and subsequent uprising.
The process will therefore remain cumbersome due to the design and popular demand.