Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Wednesday that 45 GOP senators are prepared to dismiss the charges against President Trump and effectively end the Senate impeachment trial.
The Kentucky senator told the Washington Post on day two of the Senate impeachment trial that 45 Republicans are ready to dismiss the charges against Trump. (Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the upper chamber.) He estimated that “five to eight” want to “hear a little more.”
“There are 45, with about five to eight wanting to hear a little more,” Paul told the Post. “I still would like to dismiss it, but there aren’t the votes to do it just yet.”
However, Paul said he is not pushing the point just yet.
“I will push it at some point,” he told the paper, adding, “The more Adam Schiff speaks, the more we become unified.”
Paul has openly rejected the Democrats’ calls for additional witnesses and has issued a political threat to his GOP colleagues, in the event they side with Democrats.
“If you vote against Hunter Biden, you’re voting to lose your election, basically. Seriously. That’s what it is,” Paul said, according to Politico. He continued:
If you don’t want to vote and you think you’re going to have to vote against Hunter Biden, you should just vote against witnesses, period. My first preference would be to be done with it as soon as possible and not to have any witnesses.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters on Wednesday that a witness trade is “off the table,” but Paul affirmed that he does not believe the Senate should call former national security adviser John Bolton as a witness, referring to him as “a disgruntled employee with an ax to grind.”
“It’s unknown. Some people who have talked to him think he has an ax to grind, that he’s angry he was publicly fired by the president,” Paul told the Post. He went on:
But he also has a history of believing in unlimited powers for the president. Which is the guiding light for John Bolton at this point? Axe to grind and books to sell? Or, be a player and say ‘even if I’m gone, he’s doing what I want on Iran and other things?’
Nevertheless, Paul previously outlined his contingency plan, telling Politico that he will insist they call on another witness in the event of a Bolton subpoena.
“If they insist on having people like Bolton coming forward, my insistence will be not just one witness. But that the president should be able to call any witnesses that he deems necessary to his defense,” he said.
More via the Post:
Paul’s comments come as Trump’s lawyers resist filing a motion to dismiss the charges, according to an individual close to the president’s team. That decision allows House managers to proceed with their presentation when senators reconvene Wednesday afternoon.
McConnell stressed last week that there is “little or no sentiment” among GOP lawmakers to dismiss the charges before hearing both sides of the opening arguments.
“There is little or no sentiment in the Republican conference for a motion to dismiss,” the majority leader told reporters, noting that the lawmakers feel “an obligation to listen to the arguments.”
“And we’ve laid out, in this resolution, an opportunity for everybody to sit there … to listen carefully to the arguments by both the prosecution and the defense, to follow that up with written questions, submitted through the chief justice,” he continued.
“And that means listening to the case, not dismissing the case,” he added.