As President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial unfolds, Courthouse News will be gathering interviews with senators, members of Congress, attorneys and other newsmakers in the corridors of the Capitol for this regular feature.
WASHINGTON (CN) — President Donald Trump’s defenders appeared to relent on their evidence blockade Tuesday morning, the final day of opening arguments, as a proposal gathered steam for lawmakers to read portions of Ambassador Bolton’s upcoming memoir in a classified setting.
Reporters peppered lawmakers with questions about that development, along with their strategy as proceedings turn to the question of whether witness testimony and evidence gathering will be allowed.
3:12 p.m., Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Near the Senate Subway
Amid discussion of a possible trade of witnesses, where Democrats allow Hunter Biden to testify in exchange of Ambassador John Bolton, Senate Minority Leader Schumer splashes cold water on the theory. Republicans would not need a trade to call the Bidens, if they had the votes.
“Ask yourselves: Why did they talk to you about a trade? They could call Hunter Biden if they had 51 votes for him today. They don't. I don't believe they have the votes because a good number of Republicans know two things: That Hunter Biden is a diversion and makes the trial into a circus, like a couple of the president's lawyers did yesterday. And second, it confirms the fact that President Trump is obsessed with Hunter Biden and Joe Biden. So in other words, he's willing to risk American security and risk elections to go after Biden. Now he's willing to despoil one of the most sacred things the Senate can do, a trial on impeachment, because he's so focused on Hunter Biden, and that's why you got those two way out of left field lawyers yesterday.”
3:01 p.m., Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Ca., Near the Senate Subway
A running theme in arguments by President Trump’s defenders against impeachment is that the American people should decide in an election whether he remains in office. Senator Feinstein, who sits on Intelligence Committee and famously pursued declassification of the torture report, noted that a problem with that argument is that Trump is accused of conduct that would leave those elections vulnerable.
“The president, and that's what I'm trying to write about, think about, and what does it reveal the vulnerabilities are in the next year? Because overwhelmingly, the people should judge, and overwhelmingly, we should be the election is nine months away. So I think a lot of people are saying well why not let go with the election just take place. But the problem is, you have this vulnerability. The question really is, how substantial, is it? And what is fear and concern? I sat through the Clinton impeachment. This was essentially about having an illicit relationship with an intern in the Oval Office, in my mind. That's essentially what it was. And that’s very different. And so there is a substantial weight to this. And the question is, is it enough to pass this vote?”
12:05 p.m., Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Next to Senate Subway on an Escalator