Trump jumps to call to dump Senate trial
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.
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.