Sen. Barrasso on Impeachment, Witnesses: ‘I Have Heard Enough’
U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) said Tuesday that he is 'very comfortable' deciding to vote against convicting President Donald Trump without hearing from additional witnesses or seeing further evidence in the ongoing impeachment trial.
"I have heard enough. I've read the transcript of the call," Barrasso told Bill Hemmer of Fox News, referring to the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"The momentum in the [Senate Republican] Conference is to end this quickly. We had a very fair process following along the lines of [former President] Bill Clinton's trial, as opposed to the very unfair process in the House," Barrasso said.
The White House defense team finished its presentations Tuesday.
"What we've heard here, I believe, was a very strong case by the President's team," Barrasso said. "Pointing out how this is being done, not along the lines of the Constitution, but used as a political process in a partisan way, and certainly in an election year."
The trial is set to move into a new phase on Wednesday, with the beginning of a 16-hour questioning period expected to conclude Thursday. The question-and-answer session will give senators a chance to poke holes in the cases made by House managers and the White House defense team.
"We're then going to come to a decision of 'do we need additional information, or have we heard enough to move to final judgment?'" Barrasso explained, referring to an expected vote on whether to allow additional witnesses and evidence following four hours of debate on Friday.
"What I've heard, it is overwhelming that we need to go through this process more quickly and that the President should not be removed from office," Barrasso said. "They [House managers] did not make the case, and even the articles they brought don't -- to my way of thinking -- rise to the level of impeachable offenses."
When asked about the imminent opportunity to question the House managers and White House defense team, Barrasso said he has a number of questions ready and is meeting with other Republican senators to come up with a list of questions.
"I want to know if it's appropriate for a President of the United States to investigate corruption, especially with other countries, when we know that the process up until that point hasn't been effective at protecting taxpayer monies," Barrasso told Hemmer. "I think it's appropriate, of course the Democrats think it's not."
The proposition of additional witnesses has been widely discussed since before the outset of the Senate trial but has loomed larger in the days since the New York Times reported that former national security adviser John Bolton, in a draft manuscript of his upcoming book, wrote that President Trump said he would continue withholding aid to Ukraine until Zelensky announced an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
"Well, we've already heard plenty from John Bolton. The reports are out," Barrasso said Tuesday. "We've heard obviously on tape from Hunter Biden."
"What I want to do is say, I believe the American people -- and this is what I hear at home in Wyoming -- people have heard enough. People have lost interest in this process. They realize it's partisan, they realize it's political, they realize it's about, in an election year, removing a President," Barrasso said.
"I'm very comfortable with what I know to make that decision [to vote against convicting the President] without hearing additional witnesses, additional documents at this point," Barrasso said, adding that a vote to allow further witnesses and evidence could "drag the trial on indefinitely."
"I'm looking forward to voting this week, on Friday, to say I have heard enough to make an informed judgment and make a final judgment call, and I'm hoping that the proper number of senators make that same vote so we can just move on to a final judgment," Barrasso said.
Hemmer repeatedly asked the Senator about whether he believes his Republican colleagues have enough votes to prevent additional witnesses and evidence from being brought into the trial, but Barrasso did not give any indication as to how he thinks Friday's vote will play out.