Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has given President Donald Trump’s defense team some advice on where to strike at Dems in the Senate’s ongoing impeachment trial, the Washington Examiner reported Friday.
Cruz said that Trump’s team needs to focus on the debunking the main arguments of the Democrats on impeachment and that his defense should also focus on Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company that reportedly paid former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter $50,000 per month to sit on the board even though he had no experience in Ukraine or the energy industry.
“I told them, ‘Look, nothing matters more than the facts on Burisma.’ Yesterday, the House managers spent over an hour arguing there’s no reason to investigate Burisma,” Cruz said, according to the Examiner.
Although Cruz and Trump were bitter rivals during the 2016 Republican primary race, Cruz endorsed Trump in the 2016 election and has staunchly supported him since then.
Cruz supports witness exchange
Cruz likened impeachment to a “jury trial,” stressing the need to make a calm and deliberate case. “It’s a jury trial in a sense of laying out the argument to the American people. But it also — there is an element in which it is a Supreme Court argument,” the senator said.
Cruz thinks it’s a good idea to do a “witness exchange” with Democrats, agreeing to call former National Security Adviser John Bolton if Trump-beneficial witnesses — like Hunter Biden, the so-called “whistleblower” who reported Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukraine’s president, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) — are also called.
Trump, for his part, has suggested that he would like to call witnesses in the Senate’s trial, but many Republicans in the upper chamber and elsewhere think it would be better to hold the trial vote without hearing from witnesses, ending the proceedings quickly and relying only on information in the House record.
Democrats have said they aren’t interested in exchanging testimony of Bolton for Biden, and have argued strenuously against hearing from Biden, the whistleblower, or Schiff.
Cruz on the record
Cruz has meanwhile said that Trump’s conduct in the Ukraine phone call was “perfectly within the authority of the president to investigate corruption.” The senator did say, though, that he didn’t think Trump should have publicly encouraged China to investigate both Hunter and Joe Biden after the Ukraine phone call became public.
“Elections in the U.S. should be decided by Americans,” Cruz said on CBS’s Face the Nation last fall. “It’s not the business of foreign countries, any foreign countries, to be interfering in our elections.”
Overall, however, Cruz has been clear that the Senate will allow Trump to defend himself against the allegations made in the House’s impeachment inquiry and the two articles of impeachment that were passed by Democrats in December.
The president’s trial continues this week with Republican opening arguments, followed by 16 hours of question-and-answer time for each side.