Jan 11, 2020

Trump’s new danger: Witnesses

Mike Allen, author of AM

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and other Republicans allies sound confident about his impeachment trial, but some key Republican senators plan to push for witnesses, which could result in a new chance for Democrats to sway public opinion.

The big picture: "There’s a growing sense among senators ... that there will be some witnesses," the New York Times reports.

What she's saying: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose willingness to dissent gives her a big voice among Republican senators, told reporters in Maine on Friday that she is working with a "fairly small group" of fellow GOP senators toward a goal of ensuring witnesses can be called, the Bangor Daily News reported.

  • "[W]e should be completely open to calling witnesses," she said.
  • "I am hopeful that we can reach an agreement on how to proceed with the trial that will allow the opportunity for both the House and the president’s counsel if they choose to do so."

The bottom line: Absent new information, Trump has zero worries about the Republican-led Senate removing him from office. Witnesses introduce uncertainty into a constitutional exercise where the conclusion looks baked.

Go deeper: Pelosi signals she'll send impeachment articles to Senate next week

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

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Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.