It doesn’t matter if Americans are Republican or Democrat for this one: People want to see new witnesses testify at the Senate impeachment trial for President Donald Trump. Nearly seven in 10, or 69 percent, want to hear new testimony from witnesses who did not participate in the House impeachment investigation, according to a new poll conducted by CNN. The survey questioned more than 1,100 people January 16 to 19.
While discussion around the impeachment inquiry has mostly been partisan, wanting to include more witnesses in the trial is not a polarized issue. A slight majority of Republicans (48 percent) want to hear testimony from new witnesses, as opposed to 44 percent who do not.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pushed for new witnesses to be excluded from the trial. The senator defended his decision, saying he was repeating the precedent set in the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
“What was good enough for President Clinton in an impeachment trial should have been good enough for President Trump,” he told reporters. “And all we are doing here is saying we are going to get started in exactly the same way that 100 senators agreed to 20 years ago.”
Both sides will have 24 hours to present their side for or against Trump in the trial, but they originally only had two working days to do so, NBC News reported. It was later changed to allot for three days of arguments.
While McConnell contended he’s replicating rules set from the Clinton impeachment trial, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer argued it’s a “dramatic departure… in ways that are designed to prevent the Senate and the American people from learning the full truth about President Trump's actions that warranted his impeachment,” he said. “The McConnell rules don't even allow the simple, basic step of admitting the House record into evidence at the trial.”