Democrats’ big shift in Trump’s second impeachment

Democrats’ big shift in Trump’s second impeachment

Senate Democrats aren’t pressing hard to include witnesses in the upcoming trial.

On the first full day of Democratic control, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer walks to the chamber after meeting with new senators from his caucus.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (above) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are still haggling over how to organize the trial. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Phtoo

By MARIANNE LEVINE

02/07/2021 07:00 AM EST

Democrats made a push for witnesses central to President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial. But not this time.

Senate Democrats are making it clear they’re taking a different approach than they did for Trump’s infamous Ukraine call. Now, they say their experience as witnesses to the Jan. 6 insurrection is enough.

“This is based on a public crime,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “His intent was unhidden and so I think there’s a danger as there always is for a trial lawyer and prosecutor to over-try, to add more witnesses that prove the obvious.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) compared the situations this way: “Imagine if the Ukraine call were streamed on the Internet.” And given how dug in most members of both parties are, he observed: “It’s not clear to me that there is any evidence that will change anyone’s mind.”

Rioters try to break through a police barrier Jan. 6 at the Capitol in Washington.
Rioters try to break through a police barrier Jan. 6 at the Capitol in Washington. | Julio Cortez/AP Photo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are still haggling over how to organize the trial, so it’s not even certainwhether the Senate will vote on the witness question at all, or if someone will force one at the start of the trial.

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