WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday that Republicans have not ruled out hearing witnesses in US President Donald Trump’s trial on the Senate, one of the main points of disagreement hindering agreement on drafting trial rules.
But McConnell made it clear he would not agree to a request from Democrats to hear testimony before the trial began.
The Republican leader on the House reiterated his position during an interview with Fox News, saying that any decision regarding the witnesses will be made after the start of the case arguments by Democrats and Trump representatives.
Calling witnesses, especially from current or former administration officials, will likely prolong the trial and may provide new evidence that offends Trump.
“We did not exclude (the invitation) of the witnesses,” McConnell said during the television interview. “We said, ‘Let’s say we deal with this issue like we did with (President) Bill Clinton. This is justice.” “
During the 1999 Clinton trial, Senators began their opening arguments, then were given time to write questions, and they subsequently decided to invite some witnesses.