WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, on Tuesday rejected demands by Democrats to call four White House officials as witnesses during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
On the eve of a House vote Wednesday that is all but certain to result in Trump’s impeachment on two charges, McConnell said he would not agree to call the witnesses — all of whom have firsthand knowledge of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — including Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, and John Bolton, the former national security adviser. The White House blocked them from appearing during the House impeachment inquiry.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the minority leader, had insisted in a letter to McConnell that they must be heard from.
But in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, McConnell said there was no reason for the Senate to hear from officials who might bolster Democrats’ case against the president.
“It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to “get to ‘guilty,’” McConnell said. “That would hardly be impartial justice.”
“If House Democrats’ case is this deficient, this thin, the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it here in the Senate,” he added. “The answer is that the House should not impeach on this basis in the first place.”