Election law expert and legal scholar Hans von Spakovsky said Wednesday that the Senate procedures for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial differ from those of President Bill Clinton only by allowing the White House to raise evidentiary objections that it could not raise because of the way the House inquiry departed from precedent.
Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), claimed that the procedural resolution proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was flawed because it differed slightly from the Clinton impeachment procedures. They spent all day (and much of the night, into the early morning) proposing amendments.
Von Spakovsky, speaking to Breitbart News editor in chief Alex Marlow on Breitbart News Daily, pointed out that unlike the Clinton impeachment, Democrats in the House relied heavily on hearsay evidence and did not permit the president to be represented by counsel during the inquiry, or to cross-examine witnesses. As such, the Senate could not adopt the House record in its entirety.
As Spakovsky explained:
Virtually the only difference between the Clinton resolution and the McConnell resolution was one change that was actually necessitated by the Democrats. Look, in the Clinton resolution, it simply said that all the evidence that was developed by the House will be admitted into evidence in the Senate. The McConnell resolution also said all of the evidence developed by the House will be admitted into the Senate, but subject to objection by the president’s defense team based on allegations of, you know, hearsay or anything like that. Now, why did they put that in? Well, because during the Clinton investigation, representatives of both parties were given the full ability to question witnesses, to call any witnesses either side thought was important. But yet what did Democrats do in this impeachment investigation? They — Democrats restricted the ability of Republicans to cross-examining witnesses, they prevented them from calling witnesses they thought had relevant information. So the only change in the resolution that was approved was required because of the way the Democrats unfairly changed the rules in the House.
The opening arguments in the trial will commence in the Senate Wednesday afternoon.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.