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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 AlitoConservative justices seem prepared to let Trump proceed with immigrant census plan for now For Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty Alito to far-right litigants: The buffet is open MORE on Sunday urged Senate Republicans to allow witnesses at President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts 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 BoltonDefense policy bill would create new cyber czar position Pressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday MORE has written an unpublished manuscript in which he claims Trump told him he wanted to freeze $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine until Ukrainian officials there agree to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 BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts 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 RubioSenate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale GOP urges Trump not to tank defense bill over tech fight Pressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal 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 McConnellBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser 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 MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney 'concerned' by Giuliani role in Trump election case On The Money: Senate releases spending bills, setting up talks for December deal | McConnell pushing for 'highly targeted' COVID deal | CFPB vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency MORE.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms Trump supporters could hand Senate control to Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser 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.”