Schumer calls Collins’ bluff, will force Senate votes on impeachment witnesses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has locked down every Republican senator in his plan to hold a sham impeachment trial for Donald Trump, even though he is allowing Sen. Susan Collins to pretend that she’s working on a plan to secure witness testimony. What Collins did in that stunt, though, was show weakness. She, along with every other vulnerable Republican, knows that the public wants a fair hearing. So Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is going to press that, the one advantage he has. He will force a series of procedural votes to hear from witnesses and obtain new documents.

He’s using Collins to justify it, telling Politico that support for hearing witnesses and bolstering the documentation in the case is “even stronger than we thought, with large numbers of Republicans supporting it. […] And when you go against what the American people feel strongly about, on an issue they’re paying attention to, it’s not a good idea.” That’s not particularly subtle, but it’s true. Politico cites polling by Hart Research in four 2020 Senate battleground states—Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina—that finds 63% of voters would “react unfavorably” if their senator voted against calling more witnesses or subpoeaning documents. They cite another poll from Morning Consult showing that 57% of voters nationally believe the Senate should hear from witnesses.

In response, Collins is maintaining the fiction that she’s trying really, really hard to get witnesses and throws in a gratuitous attack on Schumer, who she’s peeved at for having the temerity to work to get a Democrat elected to her seat. In a completely meaningless statement to Politico, she said “I am hopeful that we can reach an agreement on how to proceed with the trial that will allow the opportunity for witnesses for both the House managers and the president’s counsel if they choose.” Because she has such a great history of hoping McConnell will do the right thing. “It is unfortunate that Chuck Schumer—who voted against witnesses in the Clinton trial and prejudged its outcome—and his allies are seeking to politicize this process,” she sniffed, in a completely non-politicized way, of course.

Feckless Republicans like Collins keep pointing to the Clinton impeachment as a means of trying to show Democratic hypocrisy, but in reality there’s no comparison. The Clinton administration cooperated with the House investigation, provided witnesses, and didn’t collude with Democratic leadership to try to throw the process. Oh, and it was about a blowjob in the Oval Office, as opposed to a president illegally withholding congressional appropriations to extort a foreign leader to interfere in a presidential election.

Anyway, Schumer is going to give Collins and her colleagues a chance to put their votes where their mouths are. They want witnesses? They can prove it. Democrat Brian Schatz, junior senator from Hawaii, put it bluntly. “This is a true binary test: Of whether or not you are all in for Trump, or whether you will occasionally demonstrate that you’re going to use your own mind and your own spine.”

This content was originally published here.

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