The White House on Thursday doubled down on demands that if President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate expands to include new witnesses, it will include potentially explosive defense witnesses.
“If they want a full-blown trial with witnesses and that’s what they decide to vote for, they better be prepared for … the whistleblower, Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Adam Schiff and others,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Fox News.
He said that Jay Sekulow, the president’s personal lawyer who is on the defense team at the trial, made clear that was what would happen if Senate Democrats muster the 51 votes needed to extend the proceedings.
“If it’s an outright dismissal, which we believe it should be because there are no facts that implicate the president has done anything wrong,” he said, “we’re ready regardless because the facts are on our side.”
As the trail moved into the second day of senators posing questions to the House managers and the president’s’ lawyers, it appeared that Republicans were closing ranks to block more witness testimony.
Senate Democrats would need at least four GOP defectors to get the 51 votes needed to extend the trial and call witnesses.
The chamber is expected to vote Friday on whether to extend the trial. If the Senate does not call witnesses, it would proceed to a vote on whether to convict Mr. Trump and remove him from office.
Democrats want to at least hear testimony from former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton, who has reportedly written a book saying President Trump did inform him that aid to Ukraine was being withheld until that country provided information it had on political opponent former Vice President Joseph R. Biden or efforts by Ukrainian persons to back Hillary Clinton in 2016.
That assertion is at the crux of the main article of impeachment approved by the House accusing the president of abuse of power. A second article, charging him with obstruction of Congress, stems from the White House’s refusal to provide witnesses or documents to the House impeachment inquiry.
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