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McConnell says no decision made yet on calling Senate impeachment witnesses

'No decisions have been made yet; they'll be made later'

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

While the Senate may call more witnesses in an impeachment trial for President Donald Trump, no decision has been made on that front, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

At a GOP leadership press briefing in the Capitol Building, McConnell explained that the upper chamber has two paths to pick from when dealing with an expected impeachment trial.

"It could go down the path of calling witnesses and basically having another trial or it could decide — and again 51 members could make that decision — that they've heard enough and believe they know what would happen and could move to vote on the two articles of impeachment sent over to us by the House," McConnell said.

McConnell went on to note that "no decisions have been made yet; they'll be made later." He also said that those decisions would be made after House managers — who function as prosecutors — and the president's legal team make opening statements to the body.

The decision matters because the Republican-controlled Senate could call witnesses with testimony concerning President Trump's case and/or witnesses blocked from being called to testify to the House's impeachment investigation, such as Hunter Biden — whose previous work at a Ukrainian energy company is at the heart of the entire impeachment controversy — or the federal employee whose whistleblower complaint triggered the impeachment probe to begin with.

McConnell's remarks came shortly after the Tuesday publication of a story by the Washington Examiner, which reported that Republican attitudes in the Senate were leaning more toward a speedy trial than one with new witnesses.

"At that point, I would expect that most members would be ready to vote and wouldn't need more information," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told the outlet. "Many people have their minds pretty well made up."

Earlier that morning, Senate Judiciary Committee member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told BlazeTV host Glenn Beck that the president's legal team ought to be able to call their own witnesses for the trial, if they so choose.

"We will have a trial in the Senate unlike the House, where there was no due process and no fairness," Cruz told to Beck on the latter's radio show. "We're going to allow the White House and the president to present their defense. I believe that means if the president wants to call witnesses, the president should be able to call witnesses."

One last thing…
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