'We have a constitutional duty to do that.'
Senate Republicans have rejected Donald Trump's demand this week that they dismiss the impeachment charges against him without holding a trial.
On Sunday afternoon, Trump tweeted that "many" believed a Senate impeachment trial would lend "credibility" to the two charges against him. Trump was impeached last month, just before the holiday break, on two articles, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The charges stem from Trump's attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, and his efforts to hide evidence and block testimony in the earlier House impeachment inquiry.
"Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, 'no pressure' Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have," Trump tweeted. "I agree!"
Trump also complained that he should not have the "stigma" of impeachment attached to his name when he "did NOTHING wrong" and suggested the "phony Impeachment Hoax should not even be allowed to proceed."
Senate Republicans quickly rejected Trump's demand.
"I don’t think there’s any interest on our side of dismissing," Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) told the Washington Post on Monday. "Certainly there aren't 51 votes for a motion to dismiss."
Blunt, as chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, is the fourth-ranking member of the GOP leadership.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) agreed. "My understanding is most Republicans wanted to have a full trial and then have a vote on acquittal or a conviction, which is at a 67-vote threshold,” he said.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said lawmakers "should hear the case."
"We have a constitutional duty to do that," he added.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) also said they would not back an immediate dismissal of charges against Trump. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also said she was working to ensure a fair trial process.
Trump has staked out a variety of contradictory positions on the impending trial in recent weeks. Last month, he urged a speedy impeachment "so we can have a fair trial in the Senate," with testimony from House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, "and many more."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who will be a juror in the impeachment trial — has already met with Trump in an attempt to coordinate a defense strategy. McConnell (R-KY) dismissed criticism of that coordination earlier this month, arguing that it was no different from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer consulting with Pelosi.
Trump's attempt to avoid a Senate trial comes as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is set to appoint and authorize impeachment managers this week. Those managers will serve as prosecutors for the Senate trial, presenting the case against Trump.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.