There has been quite a debate in recent weeks over how a Senate impeachment trial will be conducted, and whether additional witnesses will be subpoenaed to provide testimony, with both Democrats and Republicans offering up possible witnesses from whom they would like to hear.
But if it works out that Democrats are able to call witnesses, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) just made it clear that he will fight to ensure that Republicans similarly get to hear from witnesses they want to call, such as Hunter Biden, IJR reported.
Rand Paul’s admonition
The demand for additional witnesses in the impending impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has been a sticking point for Democrats over the past several weeks, as they have insisted that certain administration officials, such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton and White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, be subpoenaed to testify about their knowledge and role regarding Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine.
But some Republicans, such as Paul and President Trump himself, have countered by suggesting their own set of potential witnesses who could be compelled to appear, such as the so-called “whistleblower” who sparked the impeachment inquiry or Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, whose questionable business dealings in Ukraine are at the heart of the entire impeachment charade.
Sen. Paul has now stated unequivocally that if Democrats are permitted to call the witnesses they want to be subpoenaed, then the same courtesy must be extended to Republicans, meaning Hunter Biden would potentially be called to testify as well, something Democrats have strongly objected to allowing.
Paul tweeted on Monday: “My colleagues can’t have it both ways. Calling for some, while blocking others. If we are going to give a platform to witnesses the Dems demand, I look forward to forcing votes to call Hunter Biden and many more!”
The senator’s tweet included a link to a Politico article that discussed the partisan wrangling over additional witnesses, namely the manner in which Democrats have been attempting to force moderate Republicans into the politically uncomfortable position of having to decide whether to support a move for more witnesses — potentially angering President Trump and his supporters — or hold firm against any additional witnesses and potentially jeopardize their seats in the upcoming elections.
During a lunch for Senate Republicans last week at which the topic was discussed, Sen. Paul reportedly told his colleagues, “Don’t think you can just vote for Bolton and not the witnesses Trump wants.”
Paul reminded them that appearing to undermine a president who is strongly supported by the overwhelming majority of the party could prove just as consequential for their incumbency as voting for no additional witnesses and opening themselves up to a challenge from the left backed by outraged liberal constituents.
Holding firm for now
As things stand now, it appears that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has held firm in the face of demands from Democrats to agree ahead of time to call additional witnesses. Instead, opening statements and a round of senators’ questions will be conducted first before the topic of calling more witnesses is brought to the floor for debate.
It remains entirely unclear at this time whether the Senate will call for testimony from additional witnesses, but if that does occur, it looks like it will be done in a reciprocal fashion.
If Democrats score testimony from Bolton and Mulvaney, Republicans are sure to call on Biden and the “whistleblower” — which is about as fair as it could get.