Democrats shoot down talk of Bolton, Hunter Biden witness swap

Senate Democrats are dismissing chatter about attempts at an agreement that would guarantee former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Bolton's lost leverage Azar downplays chance Trump will appoint coronavirus czar MORE testifies in President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE's impeachment trial in exchange for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE's son Hunter Biden also testifying. 

The idea has been floated by conservatives, who argue there should be "witness reciprocity." But Democrats shot down such talk, saying Trump allies are demanding an irrelevant witness in exchange for one with firsthand knowledge of Trump's actions.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Democratic mega-donor reaching out to Pelosi, Schumer in bid to stop Sanders: report Trump administration freezes funding for study of hurricane barriers: report MORE (D-N.Y.), asked about a potential swap, argued that "witnesses should have something to do with and direct knowledge of the charges against the president."

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"You know, we don’t need to have witnesses that have nothing to do with this that are trying to distract Americans from the truth," Schumer said.

Pressed again if he would cut a deal on witnesses, Schumer added, “right now we haven’t heard them wanting any witnesses at all.”

Asked again on Wednesday afternoon if he would be open to a deal, he replied: "That's off the table."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Hillicon Valley: Democrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendments | Lawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketing | Democrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendments MORE (D-Calif.), the lead impeachment manager, called the former vice president's son "irrelevant and immaterial."

"This isn't like some fantasy football trade. ... This isn't we'll offer you this, if you give us that," he told reporters.

Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOvernight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development Senate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign MORE (D-Md.), asked about a potential deal during an interview with MSNBC, indicated he would not support a Biden-for-Bolton swap, calling Hunter Biden a "total sideshow."

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"Focusing on Hunter Biden just furthers the entire scheme ... Trump put forward," Van Hollen said.

The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, said there was a discussion among some Democrats about supporting such a deal but senators quickly distanced themselves from the story.

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe Graham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump MORE (D-Del.), during an interview with CNN's "New Day," said such a deal "would mean trading a relevant witness who should be testifying for a witness who has nothing to do with the charges against the president."

"There was some mistake in reporting in another news outlet that suggested somehow, I was part of a group that was trying to cut some deal ... I'm not involved in a conversation like that," he said.

Coons added in a tweet that the witnesses "have to be relevant to the case."

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"It isn’t complicated. The President is on trial here, not anyone with the last name Biden. VP Biden and Hunter Biden are not relevant witnesses," he tweeted.

The idea of a swap, instead, has largely been floated by Trump, and his allies on Capitol Hill. They say they want to call Hunter Biden to testify if Democrats are able to win over the four Republican senators needed to call Bolton to testify.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOrange County declaring local health emergency in response to coronavirus Why Bernie Sanders won the debate Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response MORE (R-Utah) has said that he wants to hear from Bolton, and Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Overnight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic MORE (R-Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (R-Maine) have indicated they are open to calling witnesses though they have not specifically said they would support calling any individual.

Under the rules resolution passed by the Senate earlier Wednesday morning, senators will have an up-or-down vote on whether or not it will be in order to call witnesses or request additional documents.

If 51 senators vote to allow witnesses to be called, both sides would then be able to make motions on individuals, which would be voted on by the Senate.

Republicans, technically, would not need support from Democrats if they wanted to call Hunter Biden, who has emerged as a top target for Republicans because of his work on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. McConnell has 53 Republican votes and could call the younger Biden if he was able to hold together 51 members of his caucus.

Van Hollen floated that while the idea of a Bolton-Biden swap might be supported by some Republicans, the broader caucus does not want Hunter Biden to testify.

"We don't even know if something that they really want," he said. "There may be one or two Republicans that want that, but that's very different than Republicans wanting that."

Updated: 4:39 p.m.