Senate Republicans must stand up for the rule of law and ensure a fair, open proceeding
© Getty Images

Just hours after my Republican colleagues voted – nine times – against seeking documents and witnesses in the impeachment trial, President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration MORE bragged about the ongoing cover-up while rubbing elbows with billionaires in Davos. He proudly proclaimed that, “honestly, we have all the material. They don’t have the material.” Boasting about documents he has withheld sounds a lot like an outright confession to obstruction of Congress.

As a reminder, the White House has blocked the testimony of key witnesses like John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump directly sought to block publication of Bolton's book: WaPo 'Parasite' studio fires back after Trump criticism: 'He can't read' Trump swipes at 'little wise guy' Brad Pitt, Korean film 'Parasite' during rally MORE, Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report Mulvaney confirms he'd have to take a pay cut to be permanent White House chief of staff The Hill's Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday MORE, Robert Blair, and Michael Duffey. They’ve produced zero – that’s right, zero – documents requested from the White House, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the Office of Management and Budget.

If the witnesses the White House has blocked would testify to President Trump’s innocence, why don’t Republican esnators want to hear from them? If the documents President Trump is bragging about exonerate him, why is he blocking disclosure?


Yesterday, Republican senators tested a new set of talking points: they’ve heard all this stuff before. That’s right, the same senators who voted against hearing from new witnesses or reviewing new documents are now complaining that they don’t have anything new.

My colleagues’ complicity – at least so far – in the White House’s cover-up is deeply distressing. It is made even more alarming by the powerfully cumulative weight of the evidence already presented in the trial.

As the House managers present their case, I have been struck by the breadth and detail of the factual evidence clearly showing Trump’s venal, corrupt abuse of power for personal benefit and his criminal culpability. Although no violation of the criminal code is required for impeachment, this president has committed bribery, extortion, obstruction of a lawful congressional investigation, conspiracy, facilitation of foreign interference in an election, and the mishandling of congressionally appropriated funds in violation of the Impoundment Control Act. A local fire chief who acted in a similar way – telling a family in a burning home that, sure, they could get a truck to come put out the flames, but they’d have to do the chief a favor first – would have been marched away in handcuffs.

All of these documents will come out eventually, but we should have access to them now. Trump’s bragging about concealing them is an affront to Congress and the American people.

My colleagues across the aisle, in short, have no excuse for refusing to subpoena all the relevant documents – evidence the president has boastfully and proudly confessed to concealing. After the president’s arrogance, they should be angry – and immediately require at least the four witnesses who have firsthand information, present administration officials whom President Trump has prevented from testifying.


My Republican colleagues should emulate the courage of the public servants who have already risked grave personal harm to their careers and even their lives. Their faces and voices have filled the Senate chamber over the last few days. They stand in stark contrast to the president’s corrupt betrayal of public trust.

In the face of Donald Trump’s confessed concealment, if they fail to stand up for the rule of law – a fair, full, open proceeding – history will haunt them, and the American people will judge them harshly.

Blumenthal is the senior senator from Connecticut and a member of the Judiciary Committee.