McConnell: Senate trial should not include witnesses

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWe don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble House passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the looming Senate impeachment trial should not include witnesses, pushing back on a request by his Democratic counterpart in the upper chamber.

McConnell, during a radio interview with The Brian Kilmeade Show, warned that calling witnesses as part of the trial would pave the way for a "kind of mutual assured distraction," because both sides might try to call witnesses considered anathema to the other party.

"I think we've heard enough. After we've heard the arguments, we ought to vote and move on," McConnell said.

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McConnell also sent a warning shot to Democrats, predicting that if they try call witnesses Republicans would "want the whistleblower; we're going to want Hunter Biden."

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"You can see here that this would be a kind of mutual assured destruction episode, that would go on for a long time. ... The president's not going to be removed from office. The only issue is how long do we want to take to get the final decision. I think that we've heard enough. we're going to listen to arguments, but my view is it's time to vote and move on," McConnell added.

McConnell's radio interview comes as he went to the Senate floor on Tuesday and rejected Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats press Schumer on removing Confederate statues from Capitol Democrats' do-or-die moment Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan MORE's (D-N.Y.) initial proposal on rules for the trial.

Democrats asked to call four witnesses, including acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE and former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Ex-Trump adviser Bolton defends Milley: 'His patriotism is unquestioned' MORE, and want one resolution that would cover both the trial process and specific witnesses.

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McConnell stopped short, during his floor speech, of specifically saying he did not want further witnesses, but indicated that the decision should be made later.

"The basic procedural framework of the Clinton impeachment trial served the Senate and the nation well, in my view," McConnell said during his floor speech. "I still believe the Senate should try to follow the 1999 model."

During former President Clinton's impeachment trial, senators voted 100-0 on a resolution laying out the process for a trial, but a vote on a subsequent resolution calling for specific witnesses broke down along party lines.