Durbin rejects GOP witness swap feelers as Trump impeachment defense concludes
“I don’t think this ought to be a bidding war in terms of who testifies and ought to be someone who’s really important,” Durbin said.
WASHINGTON — Before the defense wraps up Tuesday in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the number two Democrat in the Senate, dismissed suggestions by GOP senators for witness swaps, with the first John Bolton for Hunter Biden.
“We’re not trading baseball cards,” Durbin said on CNN. “We’re not kids sitting around here picking our favorites and putting them in the middle of the circle. What we’re talking about are relevant material witnesses.
“… This idea of bargaining, well, we’ll give you one irrelevant witness for one material witness. Baloney. These should be material witnesses. And we have said we want the chief justice to be the last word on it. Let the chief justice of Supreme Court decide whether they are material probative witnesses.”
On Monday, Senate Republicans — facing the reality there may be the votes to force witnesses at President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial in the wake of ex-national security adviser’s revelations — started about talking about witness swaps.
“If we get the witnesses, it’ll be a one for one or two for two,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., a Senate Republican leader, talking to reporters during the dinner break.
Durbin said on MSNBC, “I don’t like that bidding war. OK, we’ll give you one Rudy Giuliani and you give us two ... Come on.
“What it boils down to is whether or not they are material witnesses, probative to the issues before us in impeachment. We go so far as to say let this be decided not by Democrats or Republicans, but by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. They won’t accept that either. The bottom line is the witnesses we’re asking for are employees or former employees of this president who will be speaking under oath. We don’t know what they will say, but we’re willing to accept their testimony, whatever.
“And this idea of bringing in the Bidens or bringing in someone else. I’m sorry. I don’t think this ought to be a bidding war in terms of who testifies and ought to be someone who’s really important.”