WASHINGTON — Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has conceded to Senate Democrats demands that witnesses be heard in the impeachment trial of President Trump.
Senators have been sitting through hours upon hours of opening testimony from House impeachment managers and the president’s defense team in the Senate chamber over the last week and a half. McConnell is giving in to demands by Democrats because he has not secured the votes to block witnesses from being called.
One of those votes McConnell was unable to secure is Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who said on Tuesday he is siding with Democrats requesting that witnesses be heard. Some other Republicans were also on the fence about the issue.
Indiana’s Mike Braun has said he would listen intently to all testimony in the trial before making a decision on how he would vote on whether to remove the president, but he said adding witnesses will draw out an already long process.
“The drudgery of 23 hours and that first day of 13 hours where they put out their ‘requested doc list’ and their ideal witnesses, that was the most painful part of it,” Braun said.
Braun says most senators believe the House is using articles of impeachment as a way to un-do the 2016 election.
“I think most people, especially in states like mine, Indiana, where they never thought there was any validity to the whole process in the first place,” he said. “They were talking about getting him back before the inauguration.”
Democrats are calling on former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify, following a New York Times report claiming Bolton wrote about the Ukraine scandal in a new book. In the unreleased book, The Times said Bolton said President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine for announcements of investigations into Democrats.
Braun said Democrats are going on and on without presenting any new or substantial evidence and he doubts more witnesses, especially Bolton, will change that.
“Even if Bolton has evidence, it would have to be so direct,” said Braun. “Then you have to put it with everything else. You have to take into consideration, you know, is Bolton a witness that’s disgruntled?”
A majority of registered voters think witnesses should be allowed to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial. Quinnipiac University released a national poll Tuesday showing 75 percent of registered voters believe witnesses should be called.
(PHOTO: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)