Dec 22, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Roy Blunt: Impeachment trial is "not a trial in any classic sense"

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the upcoming Senate impeachment trial is "not a trial in any classic sense," noting that there are senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination and that every member has "obvious" political considerations.

"This is called a trial because there's really, in the Constitution, I think no better thing to call it. But it's a very political process. Five of the so-called jurors, running for president. Not a single Republican in the House convinced that they should vote for either of the articles of impeachment, and a couple of Democrats convinced that they shouldn't vote for the articles of impeachment. ... It's not a trial in any classic sense. It is a political decision to do it. And at the end of the day, every single member of the Senate has considerations that are pretty obvious."

Why it matters: Senators must take an oath to do "impartial justice" before being sworn in for an impeachment trial. Several Republican senators have used the impartiality requirement as an excuse not to discuss impeachment prior to the House vote on Wednesday, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have been open about their intentions to acquit Trump as quickly as possible.

The big picture: A speedy Senate trial is expected to play out after the New Year. McConnell is working in close coordination with the White House and does not plan to call any witnesses.

  • Impeachment votes in the House Wednesday fell largely along party lines, with only a handful of Democratic defections.
  • The Senate is expected to acquit Trump, but Democratic leaders are pressuring McConnell to hold a "fair" trial by calling witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
  • Blunt told CNN that based on what he knows, he does not believe House Democrats made the case for removing Trump from office.

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