KEY POINTS

  • New poll indicates 17% of Republicans now support Trump's impeachment and removal from office, up 3 points from October
  • Trump says charges should be dismissed without trial
  • Democrats say not calling witnesses at impeachment trial would amount to coverup by 
  • Republicans

President Trump called on the Senate Monday not to dignify the articles of impeachment against him, calling on lawmakers to dismiss them without a trial.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been holding on to the charges since they were approved, mainly along party lines, Dec. 18, saying she wanted to see trial rules before choosing managers and transmitting the articles to the upper chamber. She said last week, however, she planned to send the articles over by the end of this week even no agreement has been reached on whether to call witnesses for the trial.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he wants just a perfunctory trial since there’s “no chance” Trump would be convicted.

A Hill-HarrisX poll indicated more Republicans support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office than earlier surveys but that support remains low at 17%. The Jan. 8-9 poll represented a 3 point increase from October. Among Democrats, 80% said they’d like to see Trump ousted.

The articles of impeachment accuse Trump of abusing the power of his office by trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and then blocking Congress from investigating his actions.

“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, …  Impeachment hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat witch hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have,” Trump tweeted.

“Why should I have the stigma of impeachment attached to my name when I did nothing wrong?”

Earlier, Trump had demanded a full-blown trial, with Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., testifying along with Biden’s son, Hunter, whose dealings with Ukrainian energy Burisma have been questioned.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the trial likely would begin Jan. 21.

Democrats have accused McConnell and Trump of orchestrating a coverup. During the House investigation, Trump ordered key administration officials not to honor subpoenas for their testimony or documents. McConnell has said he is against calling witnesses although he will allow fellow lawmakers to decide that after the initial case is laid out.

Former national security adviser John Bolton said last week he would testify if subpoenaed by the Senate. He said earlier he has direct knowledge of the events on which the impeachment articles revolve.

McConnell said Monday Pelosi's effort to carry on the investigation in the Senate, she is admitting their case is weak.

"The Senate will not be sucked into this precedent-breaking path," McConnell said.

Pelosi tweeted Monday Trump is afraid to allow key aides to testify.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., countered, tweeting the Senate is applying the same rules used for the Clinton impeachment trial and accused Democrats of lying.

Trump Monday tweeted a picture of Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in Islamic clothing, prompting Schumer to ask, “How low can you go?” and then asked Republicans, “How long can you cover up for and defend the president’s actions?”

Public Citizen filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee Monday seeking an investigation of McConnell.

“The public declarations by Senator McConnell that his role in the impeachment process is to coordinate with the White House and thereby make a mockery of the trial directly contradict his oath of impartiality,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said in a statement.