Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a possible swing for in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, said Tuesday that Democrats made a mistake by expressing outrage in response to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) impeachment resolution, calling the proposed rules “modest.”
“I think our Democratic friends have forgotten the fact that if you call everything outrageous then nothing is outrageous. Whether it’s two days or four days, each side gets as much time as they did in the Clinton trial,” Romney told CNN, calling McConnell’s resolution outlining a compressed trial timeline “modest.”
Romney says McConnell changes are "modest" from Clinton rules. "I think Democrats make a mistake when they call it outrage time and time again," telling me he'll vote against amendments today calling for witnesses, but wants to hear from Bolton later pic.twitter.com/2SKUX5YnLs
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 21, 2020
“If people want to see all of the trial, they’re going to be able to see all of the trial,” he added.
The resolution published on Monday evening allots Democrat House impeachment managers and President Trump’s lawyers 24 hours each to present their opening statements within three days.
Romney also reaffirmed his pledge to vote in favor of calling former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify as part of the trial.
“I will be in favor of witnesses, I presume, after hearing the opening arguments. I would like to hear from John Bolton,” he stated.
Earlier Tuesday, the upper chamber began its impeachment trial, beginning with McConnell introducing a resolution to establish rules for the proceedings.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone opened the discussion, offering support for McConnell’s resolution and saying that President Trump has done nothing wrong.
“We support this resolution. It is a fair way to proceed with this trial,” Cipollone said. “It is long past time to start this proceeding, and we are here today to do it.”
Schiff urged the Senate to allow senators to call witnesses and conduct a “fair trial.”
“Why should this trial be different than any other trial? The short answer is it shouldn’t. But leader McConnell’s resolution would turn the trial process on its head,” he said.
When it came time for Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s personal lawyer to speak, he blasted Schiff’s argument against executive privilege by using the California Democrat’s own assertions against him.
“Sekulow reminded Schiff that he had taken an entirely different approach when the Republican-led Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to provide key documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, President Barack Obama’s attempt to use gunrunning to Mexico to trace the weapons’ path and — critics said — to justify new restrictions on firearms,” Breitbart News reported.
The Trump lawyer quoted Schiff’s 2012 Politico opinion-editorial: “The White House assertion of privilege is backed by decades of precedent that has recognized the need for the president and his senior advisers to receive candid advice and information from their top aides.”
The UPI contributed to this report.