Both U.S. senators from Washington are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow testimony from firsthand witnesses during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. Democratic House leadership announced Friday that they would move to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate this week.
Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats, expressed a desire to hear from more people in the president’s inner circle before casting their vote in Trump’s trial.
“In spite of President Trump’s efforts to block key evidence and witness testimony, the House gathered the facts carefully and thoroughly during its investigation of the president’s actions before voting to pass articles of impeachment,” Murray said in a written statement to The Columbian.
She added that she stood by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the house, in her decision to delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The House voted on Dec. 18 to charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
McConnell has said he does not plan to call further witnesses, and has projected that he has the votes in the Republican-controlled Senate to acquit the president quickly and without a drawn-out trial. He’s also said that he plans to work in tandem with Trump’s legal team.
Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate was an attempt to pressure the leadership to call additional witnesses.
“Now, in light of Leader McConnell’s deeply troubling decision to put party over country and work in lockstep with the White House, I trust Speaker Pelosi is doing everything in the House’s power to ensure a fair and honest trial in the Senate so that as jurors we have all of the relevant information to pursue the truth and do impartial justice,” Murray wrote.
Cantwell, too, urged her colleagues to call on the president’s close advisers to testify. Most of the president’s immediate circle -- including acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton -- stonewalled the House hearings at the direction of the White House. Some ignored subpoenas, the basis for the obstruction of justice charge.
In a legal statement last week, Bolton indicated that he would testify before the Senate if subpoenaed.
“We need to have a trial that includes seeing the evidence and hearing from witnesses with firsthand knowledge who have not testified,” Cantwell wrote.
The House voted to impeach Trump following an investigation that centered on a phone call with Ukraine’s new president. On it, Trump allegedly pressured the Ukrainian president to publicly open an investigation into the Biden family while simultaneously withholding nearly $400 million in Congressionally approved aid to the war-torn country.
The House found that Trump’s purported actions amounted to an illegal use of the levers of the presidency, soliciting a foreign power to bolster his re-election effort.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, the Republican representative from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, voted against both articles of impeachment.