Majority of Americans want Senate to call witnesses at Trump's trial


In the last few weeks, polls consistently show between 55% and 75% of Americans want the Senate to call witnesses.

Americans across the country want the Senate to call witnesses as a part of Donald Trump's impeachment trial, according to a slew of national polls on the topic. Despite the popularity of the idea, Republican senators are still largely opposed to calling any witnesses at all.

Since Jan. 13, at least eight national polls have shown majority support for witnesses in the trial, ranging from 55% to 75%:

Many Democrats are in favor of calling witnesses, especially in light of new evidence that has emerged since the House impeached Trump in late December.

Lev Parnas, a close associate of Rudy Giuliani, gave a mid-January interview to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, during which he outlined Trump's knowledge of a plot to pressure the Ukrainian government to open a politically motivated investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

"President Trump knew exactly what was going on," Parnas told Maddow, adding Trump "was aware of all my movements."

In late January, snippets from a forthcoming book by John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, revealed that Trump himself told Bolton that he was withholding critical military aid to Ukraine until its government assisted with politically motivated investigations.

At the start of the Senate impeachment trial, Republicans voted 11 times against subpoenaing witnesses and documents in the trial.

After Tuesday's conclusion of opening remarks from both the House managers arguing for Trump's removal and Trump's defense team, Republican senators met to discuss the possibility of calling witnesses.

According to the Wall Street Journal, several vulnerable Republicans facing tough 2020 reelection races urged their colleagues to block witnesses from testifying. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) was reportedly concerned that a longer impeachment trial would be politically disadvantageous for his race.

On Wednesday, Gardner announced he will not support efforts to call new witnesses.

The next phase of the trial will center on questions by senators for the House managers and Trump's defense team. The Senate is expected to vote on the issue of witnesses later this week.

On Tuesday night, the Washington Post reported that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not yet have the 51 votes he needs to block any witnesses from testifying. Two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah — have publicly indicated a willingness to vote in favor of witnesses.

Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, meaning at least four Republicans would need to join all Democrats in order for witnesses to be called.

If there are no witnesses, it would be the first Senate impeachment trial in U.S. history without them.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.