Tuesday, December 17, 2019

GOP Senators Seek Quick Acquittal for Trump. The President Wants More.

Michael Candelori/NurPhoto/Zuma Press
With impeachment looming, many Republicans want a speedy trial without witnesses; Trump wants vindication
President Trump wanted Ukraine to help legitimize his 2016 election, show that his predecessors abused political power and raise doubts about a rival in the 2020 election.
Now, he wants Senate Republicans to do the same, according to people who have discussed plans with him.
On the verge this week of becoming just the third U.S. president to be impeached by the House, Mr. Trump doesn’t just want to be acquitted in the Senate trial that would follow, these people say. He hopes to be vindicated.
“I wouldn’t mind a long process,” Mr. Trump said Friday, suggesting that a Senate trial, expected to begin in January, would be used to unmask the whistleblower, settle scores with House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) and undermine others who view his dealings with Ukraine as highly improper.
Once articles of impeachment arrive in the Senate, Republicans will take control of the impeachment process for the first time. A growing number, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, want a quick trial without witnesses, which they view as the easiest path to acquittal. Yet there is no consensus among Senate Republicans on how a trial should look. All it would take is a few GOP senators breaking ranks to upset Mr. McConnell’s plans.
While two-thirds of the Senate is required to remove the president, a simple majority of 51 votes would be needed to determine almost every step of the process, from rules and witness testimony to the timing of a final vote. With 53 Republicans in the Senate, the GOP could in theory dictate the entire procedure. In practice, it won’t be easy for Mr. McConnell to get his caucus to vote as a bloc.
Photo: shawn thew/EPA/Shutterstock
Mr. Trump has publicly signaled his openness to a short trial, and White House aides are pitching him on the idea that a quick acquittal would be its own form of vindication. Privately, though, he has said he wants not just a quick process, but also the ability to call a list of witnesses. It isn’t clear how Mr. McConnell could deliver both of those things.
Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.), who speaks to the president frequently, said Mr. Trump “wants his day in court. He feels like he has not been able to have any defense over in the House. He has not. He’s been denied the No. 1 right all of us have, which is to face his accuser and have our defense represented.”
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE.

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