McConnell Opposes Impeachment Witnesses For Trump But Didn’t For Clinton
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing against calls for impeachment witnesses to testify during what appears to be an inevitable trial in the Senate, but the Kentucky Republican held a different view during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.
According to CNN, McConnell told CNN's Larry King Live on January 28, 1999, that in all 13 impeachment trials in America’s history (he was including impeached judges), witnesses were called to testify.
"There have been 15 impeachments in the history of the country. Two of them were cut short by resignations. In the other 13 impeachments there were witnesses,” McConnell said at the time. "It's not unusual to have a witness in a trial. It's certainly not unusual to have witness in an impeachment trial.”
He continued: "The House managers have only asked for three witnesses. I think that's pretty modest."
But with President Donald Trump facing a Senate trial, McConnell has changed his tune. CNN reported that he “is pressing for a short trial and a vote on the articles of impeachment sometime soon after the trial gets underway.”
Republicans noted that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer appeared to change his tune on witnesses as well, saying in 1999 that he did not believe witness testimony was needed at Clinton’s impeachment trial and arguing that Republicans at the time were merely interested in “political theater.”
Now, Schumer is arguing for witnesses at Trump’s Senate trial.
Asked about that discrepancy, Schumer told CNN the two situations are apples to oranges: "The witnesses in '99 had already given grand jury testimony. We knew what they were to say. The four witnesses we've called [for Trump’s trial] have not been heard from. That is the difference and the difference is totally overwhelming.”