(Press Release, February 1, 2020)
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) issued the following statement concerning a Senate vote to call for additional witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump:
“First, to be clear, the House impeachment managers have said this is a trial without witnesses. That accusation is false. The Senate has had a full presentation of witnesses and documentary evidence. In fact, the House managers have argued publicly and repeatedly, that ‘we have heard from enough witnesses to prove the case beyond any doubt at all.’ Over the course of nine days, we have reviewed testimony from 13 witnesses sworn under oath in the House hearings; over 28,000 pages of evidence; 192 videos; answers to the 180 questions asked by senators; and numerous additional witnesses and documentary evidence for the Senate record including, but not limited to, excerpts from John Bolton’s book manuscript.
“The President’s counsel have clearly stated that they will not waive the President’s executive privilege as to several of the new witnesses sought by the House impeachment managers. Nor, for reasons stated below, should they. Similarly, the House managers have clearly indicated they will object to at least three of the new witnesses sought by the President’s counsel. Resolution of these claims from both sides will require delays in the proceedings for months, if not longer. For example, this is the very reason the House did not subpoena John Bolton. In the words of House manager Adam Schiff, it would have delayed their proceedings in the House ‘for years.’
“In neither of the two previous Senate impeachment trials of a President were any witnesses deposed in which the claims of constitutional privilege had not already been resolved in court.
“It is now suggested that the Senate should simply somehow overrule the right of the President to assert his constitutional rights regarding the separation of powers between Congress and the executive branch. But the Senate could not possibly do so without that act itself being subject to extensive litigation. If the Senate were somehow to succeed in taking unto itself the power to unilaterally cancel a president’s right to executive privilege, it would change our entire constitutional system of government–for the worse. The Founders of our nation expressly rejected a system in which the President serves at the pleasure of the legislative branch. This is close to the European system–a system that was widely and wisely–rejected by our Founders in crafting our Constitution.
“The Senate has allowed the House managers to put their full record and extensive supplementary evidence before it. The case of the House managers still falls short of justifying the removal of a U.S. President from office and from the ballot in the upcoming election.
“We have an election only months from now in which the American people can use their Constitutionally-given rights to decide who will be our President.”