The impeachment report against Bolton could be a test for Chief Justice Roberts

WASHINGTON – The question of whether John Bolton or any other witness will testify against Donald Trump in the impeachment process continued on Wednesday when Democratic and Republican senators spent the eighth day of the process, asking questions to the House managers and the defense team to judge the President.

The biggest debate this week was whether Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor, should be called in as a witness until last September after details of his book, which claims direct knowledge of Trump’s print campaign against Ukraine, came to light on Sunday evening.

Earlier in the day, during a brief interruption in the trial, Chuck Schumer, chair of the Senate Minority, expressed some pessimism about the chances of reaching the 51-vote threshold that Democrats need to call witnesses.

“It’s a tough fight,” Schumer told reporters. “Is it more likely than not? Probably not. “He tried to make a good face and added that there was a” decent, good chance “of getting witnesses.

It also remains unclear whether Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Has 51 votes to block witnesses. He will need one of three senators most likely to testify: Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

United States Chief Justice John Roberts. (Senate television via AP)
United States Chief Justice John Roberts. (Senate television via AP)

If all three senators voted to call Bolton, it would likely result in a 50 to 50 tie. This could enable Supreme Judge John Roberts, who heads the impeachment process, to rule on the matter.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow argued before the Supreme Judge on Wednesday to stay out of the matter, arguing that “there is no historical precedent to justify such a decision.”

The impeachment officer, MP Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Has also argued with the Chief Justice that “we have a perfectly good judge who, under the rules of this body, has the authority to resolve these disputes.”

Most observers of Roberts and his tenure as chief judge believe he wants to avoid making a substantive decision, especially on a subject as politically charged as whether to call witnesses. If he refused to rule, any action that ended in a tie would fail.

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Wednesday’s trial first gave senators an opportunity to ask questions in writing to the Chief Justice who read them.

The format allowed the senators to present party political arguments and to conduct political attacks. At other times, however, the requests reflected the concerns of key senators.

Collins and Murkowski asked a common question, indicating that they were skeptical of Trump’s lawyer’s claims that the president asked Ukraine last year to announce an investigation against Joe Biden because he was interested in fighting corruption instead of just trying to eliminate a political rival.

“Before Vice President Biden officially entered the 2020 presidential race in April 2019, did President Trump ever mention Joe or Hunter Biden about corruption in Ukraine?” They asked.

Deputy White House attorney Patrick Philbin. (Senate television via AP)Deputy White House attorney Patrick Philbin. (Senate television via AP)
Deputy White House attorney Patrick Philbin. (Senate television via AP)

Patrick Philbin, a Trump lawyer, said he could not provide evidence of such a statement by the president. This was crucial for Schiff and the impeachment authorities’ argument that Trump’s interest in an investigation against Biden in Ukraine was an abuse of power.

Regarded as a sober, reputable lawmaker, Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, asked a question that gave some insight into his own considerations of how he could justify and explain his voices to repel the democratic push to remove Trump from the office.

Given that impeachment procedures in the Senate are privileged in the Senate and largely prevent other work from taking place on the fly, please consider and request the implications of Parliament submitting an incomplete case to the Senate Ask the Senate to get further witnesses, ”Portman said in his request.

Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly criticized House Democrats for circumventing lengthy legal proceedings to obtain documents and testimonials from potential witnesses like Bolton. Schiff and the Democrats say that this process could take years, and they are trying to prevent Trump from cheating in the autumn elections.

Philbin reached for Portman’s staff and ran with it. “Whatever is accepted in this case will become the new normal.” Philbin previously said that it would have become the norm if “hasty, half-baked” impeachment proceedings were initiated in the house. The Senate was becoming “paralyzed” more and more often.

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On the other hand, Schiff argued that the far more dangerous precedent, rather than simplifying impeachment, would be to leave the president’s abuse of power unchecked.

Schiff characterized the Trump team’s arguments as the thought that the president “can corruptly abuse his power to support his re-election and there is nothing you can do about it.” … he can do it. “

“The idea that the core offense against which the founders protect themselves – the core offense is an abuse of power – is beyond the reach of Congress due to impeachment,” continued an incredulous ship.

Trump’s team of lawyers and Republican senators spent a lot of time on Wednesday distracting themselves from Trump’s allegations. They accused Schiff of working with the whistleblower who launched the investigation into Trump’s pressure on Ukraine in August. They accused former President Obama of committing his own abuses for being responsible for the government when the FBI abused his bugging order to monitor a member of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Lead Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)Lead Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
Lead Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said when Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor in December 2015, that prosecutor – Viktor Shokin – was actively investigating Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company that bidens in 2014 Son on his board.

However, a heavy preponderance of all available public information suggests that Cruz’s comments and questions were a lie. It is widespread belief Biden’s request to fire Shokin, as was the official position of the U.S. government and the European Union, was based on Shokin’s opposition to the Burisma investigation and was released when Shokin was released, making legal action against the company more likely.

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Schiff has since made his most extensive public commentary on the whistleblower to refute Republican criticism. Last fall, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said he hadn’t heard from the person who made the formal complaint to the Inspector General of Intelligence. However, it was later reported that ship’s employees had previously been contacted by the whistleblower, the IG contacted.

“I don’t know who the whistleblower is,” Schiff said on Wednesday. “I did not meet or communicate with them in any way. The committee members did not write the complaint and did not train the whistleblower to include it in the complaint. The committee members did not see the complaint until it was presented to the Inspector General.”

“The conspiracy theory … that the whistleblower worked with the Intel Committee staff to carry out an impeachment investigation is a complete and total invention,” said Schiff.

He then gave a passionate defense of his own employees, who were publicly named and targeted with threats to their personal safety.

“My employees acted with the greatest professionalism at all times,” said Schiff. “I’m really sorry to see her smeared.”

While most Senate Republicans think the idea of ​​calling witnesses is cool, some have suggested that ship itself, or possibly the whistleblower, should also be called if Bolton is allowed to testify.

As his own role in the trial becomes more and more visible, Roberts could still help decide how to resolve this dispute.

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