Dec 22, 2019

Sen. Van Hollen: Republicans are "deathly afraid" of impeachment fact witnesses

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."

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Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden is calling George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticized President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address drew a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,302,318 — Total deaths: 376,322 — Total recoveries — 2,716,924Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,812,125 — Total deaths: 105,192 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response.
  4. Business: Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion — More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  5. Climate: The alarm over climate financial risk gets louder because of coronavirus.
  6. Media: Interest in the George Floyd protests has soared past the coronavirus.

The business of tear gas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. forces yesterday used tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House gates, prior to a declared curfew, clearing a path for President Trump to visit a riot-damaged church for a photo opportunity.

The state of play: Two of the largest U.S. producers of tear gas are owned by private equity firms, but those firms have no interest in discussing their ownership.