KEY POINTS

  • Sen. Schumer wants testimony from Bolton and Mulvaney during impeachment trial
  • Bolton, Mulvaney and two others did not comply with previous House subpoenas to testify
  • Senate Republicans have said they do not wish to allow witnesses during impeachment trial

Senate Republicans have made clear that they want the impeachment trial to go as quickly as possible by imposing limits on how it’s conducted, including banning witness testimony. Unsurprisingly, Democrats aren’t on board with this – and now they are pushing back.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared his intent to make witnesses a key part of the impeachment trial. In the letter, Schumer said he would seek testimony from both acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton in the Senate.

The letter also declared intent to subpoena two others for testimony: Mulvaney senior adviser Robert Blair and Michael Duffy, a senior official for the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Schumer also wrote that Senate Democrats would be open to hearing testimonies from any other relevant witnesses, including those named by Republicans or President Donald Trump’s legal team.

Last week when Democrats announced the filing of two articles of impeachment against Trump, an emphasis was placed on urgency and a need to move forward with the process. This appeared to backfire somewhat, as Hill Republicans responded by expressing their desire to streamline the impeachment proceedings as much as possible in order to reach a swift conclusion.

Alarmed by this, Democrats have since responded by making clear that when the impeachment trial begins in the Senate, it must not rely wholly on the investigation from the House but must also include the use of evidence, including witness testimony. Schumer’s letter to McConnell reasserts these aims by the Democrats.

While all four individuals linked closely to the Trump administration – Bolton, Mulvaney, Blair and Duffy – were previously subpoenaed by the House during its impeachment investigation, none gave testimony. They did not comply at the request of the White House and became the basis of one of the articles of impeachment – obstruction of Congress – revealed by House Democrats last week.

A testimony from Bolton may prove especially compelling for the Democrats’ case for impeachment, as the former national security adviser was dismissed by Trump earlier this year over conflict with the president regarding foreign policy. In the time since, Bolton has hinted that he has serious misgivings about the inner workings of the Trump administration, but has largely remained tight-lipped on the matter.

This week the House of Representatives will vote on whether to approve the articles of impeachment against Trump. If impeachment passes, it will then move to the Senate for trial.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they walked out of a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they walked out of a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski