As Politico reports, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has the votes to plow ahead with rulemaking for a Senate impeachment trial that completely ignores the input of Democratic Senators calling for witness testimony as part of a trial:
McConnell said Tuesday hehas locked down sufficient backing in his 53-member caucus to pass a blueprint for the trial that leaves the question of seeking witnesses and documents until after opening arguments are made.
That framework would mirror the contours of President Bill Clinton’s trial and ignore Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s demands for witnesses and new evidence at the outset…
…McConnell’s strategy has key backing from the handful of Republican swing votes heading into the trial, though many senators, like Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), had hoped Schumer and McConnell could come to an agreement.
“We’ve gotten so snarled up with debate over witnesses that the two leaders haven’t been able to come to terms on this first phase so it looks like we’ll go forward with a Republican [package],” said Murkowski, who said she would support McConnell’s proposal.
So-called moderate Senators like Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Maine’s Susan Collins are the names most often mentioned today as reluctantly siding with McConnell’s power play, but as local reporters have figured out, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner should be on this same list.
National pundits love, for some odd reason, to speculate about Sen. Gardner being a swing vote in the impeachment trial. The reality is that he has consistently criticized impeachment and never suggested he’s a swing vote. #cosen #copolitics https://t.co/02DAY2wCKD
— Justin Wingerter (@JustinWingerter) January 6, 2020
As Colorado Pols readers well know, Gardner has been ducking and dodging for months on questions about President Trump’s impeachment. On Monday, The Denver Post and other reporters called Gardner out on his persistent obfuscation on the subject. Gardner, meanwhile, responded to new questions with a silly “But…Nancy Pelosi!” retort.
Key witnesses — such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton — say they are willing to testify, and some Senate Republicans have paid lip service to the idea of allowing witnesses in a Senate trial (no doubt partly because they understand that the evidence against Trump is going to keep piling up either way). Gardner, however, isn’t even pretending that he will do anything other than whatever McConnell tells him to do.
Cory Gardner is completely in the tank for President Trump. Colorado reporters have figured that out, and their national counterparts won’t be far behind.