WASHINGTON (January 15, 2020) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday that two House chairmen who led President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry will be among the House prosecutors for Trump's Senate trial.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the announcement this morning. At midday, the House will vote to send the impeachment articles to the Senate, and the managers will walk them across the Capitol to the Senate.
The Democrat controlled House voted to impeach President Trump based on Democrat allegations that Trump abused his power in asking Ukraine to investigate whether Joe Biden, while he was Vice President, used his influence to stop an investigation into a Ukrainian company that happened to have Biden's son on its board. The Democrats also allege that because Trump objected to their investigation, that meant he was obstructing justice.
Republicans control the chamber, 53-47, and are all but certain to acquit Trump. It takes just 51 votes during the impeachment trial to approve rules or call witnesses. Just four GOP senators could form a majority with Democrats to insist on new testimony. It also would take only 51 senators to vote to dismiss the charges against Trump.
At Tuesday's private GOP lunch, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky warned that if witnesses are allowed, defense witnesses could also be called. He and other Republicans want to subpoena Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, Burisma, while his father was vice president.
McConnell is drafting an organizing resolution that will outline the steps ahead. Approving it will be among their first votes of the trial, likely next Tuesday.
He prefers to model Trump's trial partly on the process used for then-President Bill Clinton's trial in 1999. It, too, contained motions for dismissal or calling new witnesses.
McConnell is hesitant to call new witnesses who would prolong the trial and put vulnerable senators who are up for reelection in 2020 in a bind with tough choices. At the same time, he wants to give those same senators ample room to show voters they are listening to demands for a fair trial.
Most Republicans now appear willing to go along with McConnell's plan to start the trial first then consider witnesses later, rather than upfront, as Democrats want.
Even if senators are able to vote to call new witnesses, it is not at all clear there would be majorities to subpoena Bolton or the others.