A year ago, Senate Democrats demanded the right to call witnesses in Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, while Mitch McConnell insisted that the House had already presented testimony. This time around, neither party really wants to bother, according to Politico. Apart from a half-hearted attempt to goad Trump into appearing at his trial, Senate Democrats have little appetite for dragging the trial out before its obvious conclusion.
That’s not to say that they aren’t trying to spin it for maximum PR:
“This is based on a public crime,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “His intent was unhidden and so I think there’s a danger as there always is for a trial lawyer and prosecutor to over-try, to add more witnesses that prove the obvious.”
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) compared the situations this way: “Imagine if the Ukraine call were streamed on the Internet.” And given how dug in most members of both parties are, he observed: “It’s not clear to me that there is any evidence that will change anyone’s mind.” …
But for the moment, the trial is not expected to last more than a week, though that could change if witnesses are brought in. Some Senate Democrats have called for a prompt trial, citing other priorities like coronavirus relief and the extreme unlikelihood that 17 Republicans will join them in convicting Trump. Meanwhile, most Republicans are coalescing around the argument that impeaching a former president is unconstitutional.
“Both sides would kind of like to wrap it up fairly quickly,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). “If they want to call witnesses, that prolongs it for sure. And I think you’re talking about pushing into the next week, the week after that perhaps, because then both sides will have that option available to them.”