Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses

Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses
© Greg Nash

A former senior Senate Republican aide who helped win the Supreme Court confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoMitch McConnell is terrible but John Roberts is actually the worst Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses On The Trail: Why 2020 is the most important election in our lifetime MORE on Sunday urged Senate Republicans to allow witnesses at President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE’s impeachment trial.

“The historic norm is to call witnesses in Senate impeachment trials, even or especially after rushed House jobs. Senate Rs -- You guys can do this. You don’t have to vote to convict and remove; but you should want to know the full story here,” tweeted Gregg Nunziata, a longtime Senate aide who is well known in conservative legal circles.

“The Founders are pretty clear -- the House process is about an 'accusation', the Senate process is about a trial on the merits,” Nunziata said in a follow-up tweet.

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The former staffer, who is now a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, made his public comments shortly after news broke that former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump directly sought to block publication of Bolton's book: WaPo 'Parasite' studio fires back after Trump criticism: 'He can't read' Trump swipes at 'little wise guy' Brad Pitt, Korean film 'Parasite' during rally MORE has written an unpublished manuscript in which he claims Trump told him he wanted to freeze $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine until Ukrainian officials there agree to investigate Democrats including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE.

Nunziata formerly served as the chief nominations counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and also as general counsel and senior domestic policy adviser to Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats: It's Trump's world, and we're just living in it Cheese, wine importers reeling from Trump trade fight Peace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback MORE (R-Fla.).

It’s a sign that Republican senators are likely to hear growing calls across the political spectrum to extend the impeachment trial, despite clear indications from many GOP lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSanders is a risk, not a winner Buttigieg sounds alarm after Sanders wins Nevada Where do we go from here? Conservation can show the way MORE (R-Ky.) that they would prefer to wrap the proceeding up as quickly as possible.

The report by The New York Times has roiled the debate over whether senators should vote to subpoena additional witnesses including Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Tucker Carlson calls out Mick Mulvaney on immigration remarks: 'Dishonest and stupid' Trump furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report MORE.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Schumer cites security, DHS ban in questioning TSA use of TikTok Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury Buttigieg sounds alarm after Sanders wins Nevada Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill MORE (D-Calif.) and the House impeachment managers pounced on news that Bolton is prepared to publish an account directly tying Trump to the effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

“It’s up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump’s actions testify in the Senate trial,” Schumer said in a statement.

Pelosi tweeted “the refusal of the Senate to call for [Bolton], other relevant witnesses, and documents is now even more indefensible.”