The demands of the Democratic impeachment managers appear to be falling flat with some key potential “swing votes” on the other side of the aisle.
One of the Republican moderates Democrats are hoping will be among the four Republican defectors they need to force the subpoenaing of additional witnesses is Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. But the senator’s comments after three days of the trial suggest she is not going to cave to Democrats’ attempts to force former national security adviser John Bolton and others to testify.
After House Democrats decided not to issue subpoenas to Bolton and other Trump administration officials protected from testifying by executive privilege, citing the supposed “urgency” of the situation, Democratic impeachment managers are now demanding the Republican-majority Senate do so. The move could end up drawing out the impeachment for weeks, or even months, as Republicans are warning.
In comments reported by The Hill Friday, and highlighted by Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey, Murkowski pushed back on Democrats’ demand that Bolton testify, arguing, in effect, that the Democrats have the process backwards.
“It’s kind of like the House made a decision that they didn’t want to slow things down by having to go through the courts,” said the senator. “And yet now they’re basically saying you guys need to go through the courts. We didn’t but we need you to. That’s kind of where we are.”
The Hill quotes a few other Republicans who likewise scoffed at the Democrats’ demands, including Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R), who told the outlet, “Do we want to elongate this thing even further? I don’t believe we should.”
As Morrissey noted, Murkowski is one of several Senate Republicans who has expressed anger over the antics of the Democratic impeachment managers, particularly House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who has accused them of a “cover up.”
In a podcast Wednesday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made a similar argument to Murkowski about the Democrats suddenly reversing on the subpoenaing witnesses they now say are crucial in making the case. The reversal, said Cruz on “Verdict with Ted Crush,” is evidence that the Democrats are just “playing games.”
“House Democrats said, ‘We want John Bolton to testify,’” Cruz explained to co-host Michael Knowles, host of The Daily Wire’s “The Michael Knowles Show” (video below). “And John Bolton did something very interesting and, I think, very clever. John Bolton’s lawyer went to a federal court in D.C. and filed a pleading that said, ‘Judge, my client has two conflicting obligations: House Democrats have asked him to testify, but the White House has exerted executive privilege that said he can’t testify.’ And his lawyer said, ‘My client doesn’t know what to do. So, Your Honor, he’ll do whatever you tell him to do. We put ourselves at the mercy of the court. You, judge, tell John Bolton what he should do.’”
“The next step is remarkable,” Cruz continued. “You know what the House Democrats did? They said never mind. … And then they get to the Senate and the first thing they want to do is subpoena John Bolton. They literally passed on it in the House.”