Sen. Tim Scott: Dems Want a Vote on Witnesses Just to Oust Vulnerable Republicans

Susan Jones | January 21, 2020 | 8:15am EST
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Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) says he's a "no" vote on calling additional witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) says he's a "no" vote on calling additional witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

( - The impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate is political at its core, giving Democrats a shot at displacing, or disgracing, a president they despise; and in the process, turning voters against Senate Republicans who don't vote the way Democrats want them to.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said there's no question that the entire conversation about calling witnesses "was absolutely orchestrated."

What I do realize is that the whole conversation about witnesses has nothing to do with impeaching the president. It has everything to do with removing at least four senators from office who are Republicans.

The entire process of calling witnesses that were not heard in the House is about getting Cory Gardner to take tough votes. It's about having Susan Collins take tough votes. It's about having Tom Tillis of North Carolina take tough votes. It's about Martha McSally taking tough votes.

The subplot to having witnesses before the Senate has nothing to do with illuminating the case or bringing more information to the surface. It has everything to do with putting those pivotal senators between a rock and a hard place. And it has unfortunately nothing to do with impeachment.

I do think that we should not hear from witnesses who did not testify in the House. If Speaker Pelosi wants to hear from Mr. Bolton, she can compel him to come before the House and start the process over on a different case. So they still have that power.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats will "force votes on witnesses and documents" at the beginning of the trial on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said there will be no vote to call witnesses until both sides have presented opening arguments and senators have submitted their written questions.

"I would say that there are certainly between four and seven senators who may have a strong opinion on having witnesses testify, or having an individual witness testify," Scott said:

There was also a case made by some of our colleagues that if we're going to call witnesses, let's make sure that we do it with the concept of reciprocity in the front of our minds. In other words, if we call two House witnesses, we should make sure that the president has the opportunity to call two equal witnesses.

It does get into a quagmire pit, because...the politics of each state is very different. I hope we focus on the truth. And the truth of the matter is, the House put together such a shoddy case, did not allow the president to respond to that case.

And in America, you are innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent. And there's no criminal intent on the part of the impeachment documents. There's so many challenging aspects of this case that it breaks my heart that we are putting the president of the United States on what is basically a death row trial for the circumstantial evidence that we have heard so much about.

It's heartbreaking to watch the Democrats just trash the Constitution in so many ways. And to do it with personal venom.

Scott said he looks forward to voting "no" on calling any witness that was not called by the House.

"It is not our responsibility as senators to help improve or expand the case. The way that we understand the process, the House sends over a completed case and we make a decision based on that completed case.

"If the House doesn't like the case they sent over, then they need to do something in the House to change that case. But our responsibility as jurors is to hear the case, not add to it, not illuminate it, not expand it. That decision is a House decision and not a decision made by the jurors," Scott said.


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