Democrats question fairness of Senate trial after Graham, McConnell statements

Democrats on Sunday said they were concerned that statements from several GOP senators showed they wouldn't be impartial jurors during President Trump's Senate impeachment trial.

At the heart of the controversy are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators MORE’s (R-Ky.) remarks last week that he’ll be in “total coordination” with the White House on impeachment. 

Democrats said that goes against the oath senators will take before the start of the trial.

“It's why I'm so disappointed in my colleagues, this see-no-evil, hear-no-evil attitude,” Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Senate Democrat: 'Fine' to hear from Hunter Biden MORE (D-Ohio) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They don’t want to look at anything that might disagree with their world view of Republicanism and this president.”

Brown said he had “very strong feelings” about Trump's conduct and supported impeachment but added that he won’t make a decision until after he hears evidence at trial about whether Trump's actions rise to the level of removal from office. 

Similarly, Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment GOP senator calls for public health emergency over new coronavirus Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum MORE (D-Ill.) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that senators need to "consider evidence" in order to have an "actual trial" and urged McConnell to sit down with Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge Liberal super PAC to run digital ads slamming Trump over Medicare comments MORE (D-N.Y.) to ensure a trial happens in a "proper" and "bipartisan" way. 

Some Republican senators have signaled they already know which way they’ll vote at the end of the expected Senate trial. 

“I am clearly made up my mind. I'm not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process. So I don't need any witnesses,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Schiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (R-S.C.) said on “Face the Nation.” 

“I am ready to vote on the underlying articles. I don’t really need to hear a lot of witnesses,” he added. 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzJordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power GOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial MORE (R-Texas) said that, like his Democratic colleagues, he fully intends to follow his oath.

"But the oath of a Senate juror, it has some similarities to a criminal trial, but it has some differences as well," Cruz added on ABC's "This Week," pushing back on accusations that McConnell's and Graham’s statements have in any way violated the oath senators will take. 

“This remains a political process,” Cruz said. “The framers knew what they were doing when they put it into the political branches.”  

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden Marsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial Sekulow indicates Trump should not attend impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.) on "State of the Union" predicted that no Senate Republicans will vote to remove Trump and accused Democrats of attempting to “criminalize politics” by trying to impeach trump over a “disagreement.”

He dismissed allegations that Trump did anything wrong and said the process was moving forward because “people on the Democratic side don’t like President Trump.”

Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general who recently joined Trump's impeachment messaging team, also pushed back over concerns that the Senate working with the White House blocks senators from being impartial jurors. 

“These are the senators who will decide if our president is impeached, which will not happen. We should and will work hand in hand with them,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Trump is expected to be acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate; no Republican senators have publicly signaled they would vote to remove Trump. 

House Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Schiff says Justice Roberts should rule on witnesses Schiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line MORE (D-Calif.) said Trump’s acquittal in the Senate would not mean impeachment was a “failure” for House Democrats. 

“At least it's not a failure in the sense of our constitutional duty in the House,” Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week.” 

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler calls Trump a 'dictator' on Senate floor Poll: Majority think Senate should call witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Susan Collins asked Justice Roberts to intervene after Nadler late-night 'cover-up' accusation MORE (D-N.Y.) also brushed off the suggestion that Democrats failed their own “test” by not garnering Republican support. 

“This is a continuing threat to the integrity of our elections now,” Nadler said on "This Week". “This is not a one-off. Impeachment is not a punishment for past behavior.”

“He poses a continuing threat to our national security and to the integrity of our elections, to our Democratic system itself,” Nadler added. “We cannot permit that to continue.”