McConnell: Senate trial should not include witnesses

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots Top GOP lawmakers push back on need for special oversight committee for coronavirus aid Stocks move little after record-breaking unemployment claims 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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."

At the heart of the impeachment inquiry is President TrumpDonald John TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE's conduct towards Ukraine, including pressing for investigations into a Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims The Memo: Scale of economic crisis sends shudders through nation The Hill's Campaign Report: Coronavirus forces Democrats to postpone convention MORE, Trump's political rival.

"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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots Schumer doubles down in call for Trump to name coronavirus supply czar Trump lashes out at Schumer over call for supply czar 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 MulvaneyMeadows joins White House in crisis mode Meadows resigns from Congress, heads to White House Meadows set to resign from Congress as he moves to White House MORE and former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonChina sees chance to expand global influence amid pandemic Trump ignores science at our peril Bolton defends decision to shutter NSC pandemic office MORE, and want one resolution that would cover both the trial process and specific witnesses.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.