Republicans blocked a series of proposals that would have allowed for witness testimony and documentary evidence in Donald Trump's impeachment trial.
Witness testimony and documentary evidence is not guaranteed to be allowed in the impeachment trial against Donald Trump, after almost every Senate Republican blocked nearly a dozen Democratic proposals to do just that.
Democrats were seeking to amend Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's impeachment trial rules package, which does not allow for witnesses nor documents to be part of the trial until after the House impeachment managers make their arguments.
Even then, the Democratic House impeachment managers would need to convince four Republican senators to break from their party and vote to allow for the documents and witnesses the managers want — a tough hurdle.
In total, Democrats proposed 11 amendments to McConnell's rules. And almost every Republican blocked every single one. (Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins voted for one of the Democratic amendments, which would have allowed for "additional time to file responses to motions.")
Otherwise, all 53 Senate Republicans blocked the 10 other amendments, which would have:
- Subpoenaed relevant White House documents and records;
- Subpoenaed relevant State Department documents and records;
- Subpoenaed relevant documents and records from the Office of Management and Budget;
- Subpoenaed certain Defense Department documents and records;
- Subpoenaed testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton, who was reportedly against the effort to block military aid to Ukraine, calling it a "drug deal";
- Subpoenaed testimony from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who was a key figure in the Ukrainian scheme;
- Subpoenaed testimony from Mulvaney aide Robert Blair and OMB official Michael Duffey, who were also privy to the Ukraine military aid hold;
- Prevented "the selective admission of evidence and to provide for appropriate handling of classified and confidential materials"; and
- Let the House impeachment managers out motions in order for witnesses and documents after they present their case and receive questions from senators.
Every Republican senator also voted to block was an amendment that sought "impartial justice" by allowing Chief Justice John Roberts to "rule on motions to subpoena witnesses and documents." Roberts, in his role as chief justice of the Supreme Court, presides over the impeachment trial.
After blocking every Democratic amendment to the rules package, all 53 Senate Republicans then voted to approve McConnell's impeachment trial rules package.
The vote lasted until after 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Ultimately, Democrats say the rules Republicans passed for the impeachment trial amount to a "cover up" of Trump's alleged crimes.
"They don't want the American people to see what's going on here," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), one of the seven House impeachment managers, said late Tuesday night as he argued for Democrats' amendments to be added to the rules. "They're hoping people are asleep, and you know a lot of people are asleep right now all over the country, because it's midnight."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.