With Donald Trump’s impeachment trial now in the Republican-led Senate, his supporters think there’s little Democrats can do to further plead their case, but they are wrong.
In a power move, House Democrats are preparing to put the squeeze on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hear from new witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial by leaving the door open to another possibility: calling those witnesses themselves if Senate Republicans do not, The Hill reports.
The news comes days after Lev Parnas’s bombshell interview with MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow that rocked Capitol Hill and his revelation that several Republicans are involved in the Ukraine scandal that triggered the impeachment inquiry.
As noted by The Hill, “House Democrats impeached Trump last month on two charges related to his handling of foreign policy in Ukraine, but their investigations into the issue remain open even as the spotlight turns to the launch of the Senate trial.”
Democrats in both chambers are hoping the emergence of new evidence and eyewitness offers to testify will force Senate GOP leaders to consider the unexplored information, including captivating details of Trump’s pressure campaign recently provided by Lev Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman with close ties to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Most Senate Republicans, taking cues from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), oppose any effort to seek testimony from Parnas and other key figures who refused to cooperate in the initial House investigation — a list that includes John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, who has since changed his tune and offered to testify under subpoena.
Yet even if McConnell has his way and prevents new witnesses from appearing, they may find a stage in the House, where Democrats are already advocating for their testimony if they’re silenced by the Senate.
“We would be remiss in the House of Representatives not to follow this trail to its conclusion. And Parnas has emerged as an important figure in this criminal conspiracy to force or coerce a foreign government to help Trump’s reelection campaign,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, which drafted the impeachment articles late last year.
This week, Parnas offered vivid new details of that campaign, providing Democrats with a trove of documents, phone records, emails and text-messages related to his communications with Giuliani, a disreputable Ukrainian prosecutor, an unstable Republican landscaper and others who participated in the effort to oust Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine whom Trump recalled in April.
“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last week. “He was aware of all my movements.”
Trump, for his part, has denied any connection to Parnas.
“I don’t know who this man is,” Trump said Thursday despite overwhelming photographic evidence to the contrary.