The Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is the first in history without a review of the related documents and without testimony from witnesses, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said Thursday in an interview with reporters.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other senators, including Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., voted against inviting witnesses to testify during the trial.
“Anybody who voted to table witnesses is helping to cover up what Donald Trump has done and his abuse of power,” Bennet told reporters.
Senators must vote on whether to remove Trump using evidence from the House of Representatives investigation in December.
Gardner said in a news release Tuesday the trial will be modeled after the same basic principles as the impeachment hearing held for former President Bill Clinton and will establish bipartisan guidelines that allow both sides to present their cases.
But Bennet said the comparison to the Clinton impeachment trial is unfounded, given the election corruption and foreign relations implications of Trump’s impeachment trial, as well as the lack of documents and witnesses.
Sam Berger, vice president of democracy and government reform at the Center for American Progress, said regardless of the outcome of the trial, it is “critically important that we have the documents and witnesses because that is what it means to have a fair trial.”
Republicans complain they haven’t found any new information through the investigation, but now is their chance to learn something new from witnesses, Berger said.
“Folks don’t tend to hide the stuff that is good for them,” Berger told The Durango Herald.
A majority of House lawmakers allege Trump broke the law by pressuring Ukraine’s president to find negative information about former Vice President Joe Biden, who is in the running to become the Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
Trump is accused of withholding military aid from Ukraine until Biden was investigated, but the White House denies this.
After Trump “stonewalled the House investigation,” Bennet said more evidence is needed to uncover the truth.
According to a recent poll from FiveThirtyEight, 48.1% of Americans support removing Trump from office. The poll found 83.9% of Democrats support removing Trump from office, and 8.4% of Republicans support removing Trump from office.
Americans should “fight over the next few days to make sure we get those documents” by calling their senators and other representatives so that we don’t “live in a monarchy,” Bennet said.
“Someday, it will all come out anyway,” but it should come out when senators have the opportunity to act on it, Bennet said.
Emily Hayes is a graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald.