Trump jumps to call to dump Se­nate trial

Boston Herald - - News -

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Trump says the Se­nate should sim­ply dis­miss the im­peach­ment case against him, as the House pre­pares to trans­mit the charges to the cham­ber for the his­toric trial.

Trump has been giv­ing mixed mes­sages ahead of the House’s vote that will launch the Se­nate pro­ceed­ings in a mat­ter of days, only the third pres­i­den­tial im­peach­ment trial in Amer­i­can his­tory. Trump faces charges that he abused power by push­ing Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate Demo­cratic ri­val Joe Bi­den and then ob­structed Congress.

First Trump was sug­gest­ing his own ideas for trial wit­nesses, then Sun­day he tweeted that the trial shouldn’t hap­pen at all.

“Many be­lieve that by the Se­nate giv­ing cre­dence to a trial based on the no ev­i­dence, no crime, read the tran­scripts, ‘no pres­sure’ Im­peach­ment Hoax, rather than an out­right dis­missal, it gives the par­ti­san Demo­crat Witch Hunt cred­i­bil­ity that it oth­er­wise does not have. I agree!” Trump tweeted.

The idea of dis­miss­ing the charges against Trump is un­likely. Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell signed on to a pro­posal cir­cu­lat­ing last week among con­ser­va­tive sen­a­tors, but he does not have enough sup­port in the Repub­li­can­held cham­ber to ac­tu­ally do it. It would re­quire a rare rules change sim­i­lar to the ap­proach McCon­nell used for Supreme Court con­fir­ma­tions.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Sun­day that sen­a­tors will “pay a price” if they block new wit­ness tes­ti­mony with a trial that Amer­i­cans per­ceive as a “coverup” for Trump’s ac­tions.

“It’s about a fair trial,” Pelosi told ABC’s “This Week.” “The sen­a­tors who are think­ing now about vot­ing for wit­nesses or not, they will have to be ac­count­able.”

She said, “Now the ball is in their court to ei­ther do that or pay a price.”

Vot­ers are di­vided over im­peach­ment largely along the na­tion’s deeply par­ti­san lines and the trial is be­com­ing a high-stakes un­der­tak­ing at the start of a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year.

A House vote to trans­mit the ar­ti­cles to the Se­nate will bring to a close a stand­off be­tween Pelosi and McCon­nell over the rules for the trial. The House voted to im­peach Trump last month.

TNS FILE

ON THE OTHER HAND: Pres­i­dent Trump has shifted from call­ing for wit­nesses in his Se­nate im­peach­ment trial — which would likely in­clude former na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser John Bolton — to call­ing for the case to be dis­missed out­right.

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