Some key House Democrat congressmen have reportedly threatened to call new impeachment witnesses to testify in the House if they are not allowed to do so in the senate where the trial to remove or acquit President Donald Trump is expected to begin in earnest on Tuesday.
The Hill noted Sunday:
Even if McConnell has his way and prevents new witnesses from appearing, they may find a stage in the House, where a number of Democrats are already advocating for their testimony if they’re silenced by the Senate.
House Democrats have all said the are continuing with their impeachment inquiries – even after the House handed over the articles of impeachment to the Senate last week – raising the prospect of them introducing new articles of impeachment.
Marking the end of the process in the lower chamber, Democrat lawmakers, dubbed managers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, marched the articles of impeachment over to the Senate last week.
The move triggered the start of the Senate trial. Nevertheless, Democrats in both chambers are hoping the Senate will allow new testimony from Lev Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman affiliated with Trump’s personal attorney, and other evidence.
Parnas is facing criminal indictment on federal campaign finance charges.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), a member of the Judiciary Committee, which drafted the impeachment articles late last year, the Hill reported Sunday:
We would be remiss in the House of Representatives not to follow this trail to its conclusion. And Parnas has emerged as an important figure in this criminal conspiracy to force or coerce a foreign government to help Trump’s reelection campaign.
“They have their eye on it,” Johnson added, referring to committee leaders open to witnesses testifying in the House if they are unable to do so in the Senate.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, one of the three panels that pursued the impeachment inquiry, left the door open to allowing more witnesses to testifying in the House.
Democrats will charge ahead with their impeachment investigation “if we’re feeling that we’re being played and that they’re not being forthcoming with the truth,” he declared, according to the the Hill. Engel added:
We’re not going to just say, ‘OK, we’ve disposed of it and now the ball’s in their court and there’s nothing left for us to do.’ I think quite the contrary. The more we hear, and the more things come out, the more resolute we are to make sure that we’re dealing with the truth, and that it’s not being swept under the rug.
The House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence conducted the impeachment inquiry. Under the leadership of Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), House Judiciary Committee drafted the articles of impeachment.
House members had all the time they wanted to carry out the impeachment inquiry. Still, their decision to pursue the removal of President Donald Trump nearly a year before the presidential elections in November 2020 forced them to rush. Now, many Senators are accusing House members who demand new witnesses and evidence of trying to push the upper chamber into finishing their job.
Following the lead of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), most Republicans in the upper chamber oppose allowing testimony from Parnas and other prominent figures who refused to cooperate with the House inquiry, including John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser. Bolton has changed his tune, saying he would testify under a Senate subpoena.
Several of the Democrat House managers chosen by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA), including Schiff and Nadler, appeared on several Sunday news shows to urge the reluctant GOP-controlled Senate to allow new witnesses and evidence.
The lawyers representing Trump in the Senate trial argue that the two articles of impeachment approved against Trump almost entirely along party lines with all Republicans voting against them — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — are neither criminal nor impeachable.
Democrat House members repeatedly argue that the only way to get a “fair trial” is by allowing new testimony and documents, something the House could have done had they waited rather than swiftly vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
Pelosi even held on to the articles for weeks after they voted to impeach him, before transmitting the articles to the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has proposed holding a vote once the trial is underway on whether to allow new witnesses and evidence requested by both parties.