By Jack Phillips
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters over the weekend that his goal is “to have as short a trial as possible.”
“I think there’s a desire by senators, quite honestly, to get this chapter closed and moved forward,” Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told The Hill.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) told the political website that “shorter is better for a lot of reasons” before adding that Americans “are ready to move on.”
House Democrats earlier this month voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Trump: Obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. They allege that Trump misused his office by withholding military aid in exchange for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, which Trump has repeatedly denied, and they’ve also said his administration blocked Congress during its investigation. No Republican in the House voted in favor of the articles, and a few Democrats voted with Republicans against one or both of the articles.
At least one Republican senator told The Hill that he doesn’t just want the articles dismissed but wants Trump to be acquitted.
“I’m ready to get this thing and get it done,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). “It’s time for him to have his day in court. … I don’t want to a vote to dismiss. I want a vote to acquit. The president deserves to have due process.”
Another senator said that if the White House doesn’t want witnesses in the trial, it’s fine by him.
“I’m ready to vote now,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said, adding that he doesn’t agree with the two articles of impeachment.
However, at least one GOP senator had critical words for a Republican plan to coordinate the Senate trial with the White House.
“When I heard that, I was disturbed,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.) told reporters last week. Murkowski is considered a key swing vote among Republicans.
“To me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense, and so when I heard [of the coordination plan] I happened to think that further confused the process,” she said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is pushing for a trial with testimony from witnesses such as White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former Trump adviser John Bolton. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has shot down those claims in public remarks.
In the meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not yet delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate and won’t do so until Democrats see “the process that is set forth in the Senate.”
The move triggered confusion among legal experts and even constitutional scholars, including Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, who argued in an opinion piece that Trump could conceivably make the case that he hasn’t been impeached yet.
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