On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested an idea that could trigger calling former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter to be called as witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. Cruz called for “witness reciprocity,” which would enable GOP leaders in the Senate to call a witness of their own for every witness called for by Senate Democrats.
Cruz brought up the idea during a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP leaders, according to Fox News, which added that other people who might be called by the GOP include House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and the whistleblower who publicized a July phone call between Trump and the leader of Ukraine.
McConnell, who consulted with Cruz,senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah regarding tactics for the impeachment trial, stated,“We’ll be dealing with the witness issue at the appropriate time into the trial. And I think it’s certainly appropriate to point out that both sides would want to call witnesses if they wanted to hear from them. So if you get to that issue, I can’t imagine that only the witnesses our Democratic colleagues want to call will be called.”
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, “I love @tedcruz’s plan of witness reciprocity. The American people want to hear from #wheresHunter Biden, #sleepyJoe Biden, #fullofschiff, the phony “whistleblower” etc. much more than they do anyone on our side especially since the house had free reign of witnesses for months.”
I love @tedcruz’s plan of witness reciprocity.
The American people want to hear from #wheresHunter Biden, #sleepyJoe Biden, #fullofschiff, the phony “whistleblower” etc. much more than they do anyone on our side especially since the house had free reign of witnesses for months.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 15, 2020
A likely witness whom the Democrats would like to call would be former national security advisor John Bolton; three GOP senators, Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have suggested they might be open to agreeing he should be called as a witness. With 53 senators in the Senate, the GOP needs every vote, as it requires a simple majority to win a motion in the Senate. President Trump told Fox News last week that he might invoke executive privilege so Bolton could not testify.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.VA) noted McConnell is famous for keeping his plans secret, asserting, “He’s been around a long time. And he’s close to the vest. The thing he has on his radar screen is … 51 [votes]. Where can he get to 51? And no matter what his personal beliefs might be or how he feels about it. And I think that’s really the difficulty he has, trying to weave that,” as Politico reported.
White House Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland pointed out the close ties between Trump and McConnell, saying, “They have a lot of conversations, and I don’t think there’s any problem between the two of them in terms of how their being crisp and clear with each other on the various priorities each has pulling together this trial process.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) approved of McConnell waiting to announce his plans, stating, “If I was him, I certainly wouldn’t disclose it because then Nancy Pelosi could say, ‘Oh, now that I’ve seen the rules, I’m not gonna send these [articles] over.’ Why throw your hand in when you’ve won the game?”