WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) submitted a question during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump challenging claims that subpoenaing relevant witnesses or documents would unnecessarily prolong the trial. The question also makes clear that depositions of witnesses in the Clinton trial were completed in only one day each and highlights the fact that the presiding officer, Chief Justice Roberts, has the authority to resolve disputes regarding witness issues in a timely manner.
Senator Carper asked, “Some have claimed that subpoenaing witnesses or documents would unnecessarily prolong this trial. Isn’t it true that depositions of the three witnesses in the Clinton trial were completed in only one day each and isn’t it true that the Chief Justice as presiding officer in this trial has the authority to resolve any claims of privilege or other witness issues without any delay?”
Representative Hakeem Jeffries, on behalf of the House managers, responded by saying, “The answer is yes. What is clear based on the record that was compiled by the House of Representatives, where up to five depositions per week were completed, that this can be done in an expeditious fashion…But to the extent that there are ambiguities…this is a trial. A trial involves witnesses, a trial involves documents, a trial involves evidence.”
Watch the question read by Chief Justice Roberts and the House Managers’ full response HERE.
The full transcript of Representative Jeffries’ response is below:
“The answer is yes. What is clear based on the record that was compiled by the House of Representatives where up to five depositions per week were completed, is that this can be done in an expeditious fashion. It’s important to note that the record that exists before you right now contains strong and uncontroverted evidence that President Trump pressured a foreign government to target an American citizen for political and personal gain as part of a scheme to cheat in the 2020 election and solicit foreign interference. That is evidence from witnesses who came forward from the Trump administration, including individuals like Ambassador Bill Taylor, West Point graduate, Vietnam war hero. Including individuals like Ambassador Sondland, who gave 1 million dollars to president Trumps inauguration. Respected national security professionals like Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, as well as Dr. Fiona Hill. Seventeen different witnesses, Trump administration employees, troubled by the corrupt conduct that took place alleged and proven by the House of Representatives. But to the extent that there are ambiguities, in your mind this is a trial. A trial involves witnesses, a trial involves documents, a trial involves evidence. That is not a new phenomenon for this distinguished body. The senate in its history has had fifteen different impeachment trials. In every single trial there were witnesses, every single trial. Why should this President be treated differently? Held to a lower standard, at this moment of Presidential accountability. And in fact, in many of those trials there were witnesses who testified in the Senate who had not testified in the House. That was the case most recently in the Bill Clinton trial. It certainly was the case in the trial of President Johnson, where 37 out of the 40 witnesses who testified in the Senate were new. 37 out of 40. Why can’t we do it in this instance, when you have such highly relevant witnesses like John Bolton, who had a direct conversation with President Trump indicating that President Trump was withholding the aid because he wanted the phony investigation. Council has said the greatest invention in the history of jurist prudence for ascertaining the truth has been the vehicle of cross examination. Let’s call John Bolton, let’s call Mick Mulvaney, let’s call other witnesses, subject them to cross examination, and present the truth to the American people.”
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