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 BoltonWhen will Biden declare America's 'One China, One Taiwan' policy? India's S-400 missile system problem Overnight Defense & National Security — GOP unhappy with Afghan vetting MORE testifies in President TrumpDonald TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE's impeachment trial in exchange for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Five House members meet with Taiwanese president despite Chinese objections Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist 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 SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian Biden administration to release oil from strategic reserve: reports 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."


"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 SchiffGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist Jan. 6 panel may see leverage from Bannon prosecution 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 HollenSenators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama Democrats scramble to figure out shutdown strategy 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."


"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 CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSenators: US allies concerned Senate won't pass annual defense bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay Can America prevent a global warming cold war? 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."


"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 RomneyGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead China draws scrutiny over case of tennis star Peng Shuai MORE (R-Utah) has said that he wants to hear from Bolton, and Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Man charged with threatening Alaska senators pleads not guilty Two women could lead a powerful Senate spending panel for first time in history MORE (R-Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall 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.