With President Trump’s impeachment trial set to begin next week, the Senate faces a stark choice: it can hold a legitimate trial that aims to get to the bottom of the allegations against the president, or it can stage an empty media spectacle like House Democrats did in their sham impeachment inquiry.
The problem for Democrats is that if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opts for the former, it will mean calling not just the witnesses Democrats want, like former National Security Advisor John Bolton, but also witnesses the administration wants, like Hunter Biden and Eric Ciaramella, the anti-Trump whistleblower who first set all of this in motion.
Indeed, it’s hard to see how Senate Democrats can demand to hear only from witnesses they think will bolster their preferred narrative—like Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born associate of Rudy Giuliani who was indicted for campaign law violations, and lately has been making grand accusations about Trump in the media—but not hear from Ciaramella or Biden. At least, they can’t do so while also maintaining the fiction that this impeachment is anything but bare-knuckle partisan politics, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s somber soliloquies about the Constitution notwithstanding.
In any case, Trump’s Republican allies in the Senate might not let them. In an interview with Politico on Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul said he will force the Senate to vote on subpoenaing President Trump’s preferred witnesses—specifically, Hunter Biden and Ciaramella—if four or more of his colleagues join with Democrats in calling for new witness testimony in the impeachment trial set to begin next week.