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 BoltonHave the courage to recognize Taiwan McConnell says Obama administration 'did leave behind' pandemic plan Trump company lawyer warned Michael Cohen not to write 'tell-all' book: report MORE testifies in President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE's impeachment trial in exchange for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign cancels fundraiser with Mueller prosecutor Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation 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 SchumerVA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment Democrats call on FTC to investigate allegations of TikTok child privacy violations Lawmakers introduce bill to invest 0 billion in science, tech research 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 SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate 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 HollenSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Lawmakers urge Trump to cancel DC's July 4 event: 'Impossible to put on safely' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead 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 CoonsVoting rights, public health officials roll out guidelines to protect voters from COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Warren's VP bid faces obstacle: Her state's Republican governor 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 RomneyCoronavirus and America's economic miracle Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project Romney defends Joe Scarborough, staffer's widower: 'Enough already' MORE (R-Utah) has said that he wants to hear from Bolton, and Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits | House Republicans introduce bill to speed mining projects for critical minerals | Watchdog faults EPA communications in contamination of NC river Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas MORE (R-Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits | House Republicans introduce bill to speed mining projects for critical minerals | Watchdog faults EPA communications in contamination of NC river The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Unemployment claims now at 41 million with 2.1 million more added to rolls; Topeka mayor says cities don't have enough tests for minorities and homeless communities Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits 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.