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Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday that Republicans are "deathly afraid" of calling impeachment fact witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton because their sworn testimonies would make it "harder for those senators to vote for acquittal."

"The reason Republicans are so deathly afraid of sending down these fact witnesses is because after they testify — under oath, they'll have to raise their right hand just like all the witnesses in the House did and testify under penalty of perjury — it's going to be much harder for Republicans to hide behind this myth that this was a perfect phone call. And it will make it harder for those senators to vote for acquittal."
— Chris Van Hollen

The big picture: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rejected Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) request for Bolton, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and two other White House officials to testify in the impeachment trial.

  • Those witnesses were blocked by the Trump administration from testifying in the House impeachment inquiry, but they would have direct knowledge of the president's decision to freeze military aid to Ukraine.
  • McConnell, who has been closely coordinating with the White House, is expected to hold a short trial and call no new witnesses, arguing that it is the House's job to investigate. However, it only requires a majority of senators to vote to call a witness.
  • The Senate is ultimately expected to acquit Trump, but defections on the decision to call witnesses by moderate Republicans like Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) could shake up the trial.

Van Hollen told CBS he will "wait to hear all the evidence" before deciding how to vote on removing Trump from office, but said he believes the House has made a "very strong case for impeachment."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Senate Democrats unveil new income tax for billionaires

Sen. Ron Wyden. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday released a billionaires' tax proposal, designed to help support President Biden's social spending and climate change legislation.

Why it matters: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the Billionaires Income Tax would raise "hundreds of billions of dollars" and would affect approximately 700 taxpayers who have more than $1 billion in assets or incomes of over $100 million a year.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

4 hours ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.