Sen. John Kennedy: Dems Are Giving Trump 'A Fair and Impartial Firing Squad'

Susan Jones | November 11, 2019 | 5:17am EST
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Donald Trump and John Kennedy (R-La.) campaigned together on December 9, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump and John Kennedy (R-La.) campaigned together on December 9, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

( - The always-colorful Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana is among the Republicans who say Democrats are being unfair to President Trump by limiting the witnesses they may call and by selectively leaking portions of the testimony they've heard privately, before releasing transcripts pertaining to Trump's Ukraine dealings.

Public hearings in the impeachment inquiry begin Wednesday, and Kennedy said he'll be listening to what transpires in the House intelligence committee:

"If you try to assess how a trial is going for a defendant, you don't just listen to the lawyers' opening statements and you don't just read the transcript," Kennedy told CBS's "Face the Nation."

"You sit there and listen to all the testimony, the cross-examination, and the context. And I think that Speaker Pelosi's decision and Adam Schiff's decision to prevent the Republicans from calling their own witnesses in the live testimony is just doubling down on stupid.

"The American people, I think, are going look at this and go, I get it. They're going to give the president a fair and impartial firing squad. And that's not due process."

Kennedy outlined two possible scenarios in his conversation with CBS's Margaret Brennan:

Number one, the president asked for an investigation of a political rival. Number two, the president asked for an investigation of possible corruption by someone who happens to be a political rival.

The latter would be in the national interest. The former would be in the president's parochial interests and would be over the line.

I think this case is going to come down to the president's intent, his motive. Did he have a culpable state of mind? For me, Margaret, there are only two relevant questions that need to be answered. Why did the president ask for an investigation? And, number two -- and this is inextricably linked to the first question -- what did Mr. Hunter Biden do for the money?

Brennan asked Kennedy if "there is something you could hear that could potentially persuade you to vote for (Trump's) removal?"

Well, I can't answer that, Margaret, because that encompasses all possible scenarios," Kennedy said. "That's like asking me if I didn't go fishing Saturday, how many fish will I have caught?

"All I'm saying is that it ought to be fair, it ought to be public. I read somewhere that democracy dies in darkness. It ought to be public. Both sides ought to be called -- able to call their witnesses in front of God and country and the American people. And then let the American people decide. And the president and his counsel should be allowed to participate.

"Now, I think that would be fair. And then I will happily judge the evidence. But you can't limit the witnesses, as Chairman Schiff and Speaker Pelosi are doing, selectively leak portions of the transcript that favor your opinion to friendly members of the press, who lap it up like a puppy."

"I don't think any fair-minded person in the Milky Way believes that Speaker Pelosi or Chairman Schiff are impartial here," he added.


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