WASHINGTON – Tonight, during the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) asked the House Managers and Counsel for the President which witnesses the President’s Counsel would expect to call as their own witnesses with firsthand knowledge if John Bolton or others are called by House Managers.
“Why don’t they want the head of OMB in? Why don’t they want their own people in? Because their own people will incriminate the President,” House Manager Adam Schiff said. “But there’s no shortage of relevant, probative witnesses, they just don’t want you to hear what they have to say.”
Video and audio available here.
Full transcript below:
Question from Klobuchar and Coons: Mr. Sekulow said earlier that the President’s Counsel would expect to call their own witnesses in this trial if Mr. Bolton or others are called by the House Managers. Can you tell the Senate if any of those witnesses would have firsthand knowledge of the charges against the President and his actions?
House Manager Adam Schiff: There certainly are witnesses that the President could call with firsthand information. I don’t know that they’re the witnesses that they have described so far. Their position is, apparently, if you’re the chairman of a committee doing an investigation that makes you a relevant witness. It doesn’t. Or you’ve all become witnesses in your own investigations. They want to call Joe Biden as a witness. Joe Biden can’t tell us why military aid was withheld from Ukraine while it was fighting a war; Joe Biden can’t tell us why President Zelensky couldn’t get in the door of the White House while the Russian foreign minister could. He’s not in a position to answer those questions. He can’t tell us whether this rises to an impeachable abuse of power, although he probably has opinions on the subject. But are there witnesses they could call? Absolutely. They have said Mick Mulvaney issued a statement saying “The President never said what I said he had said earlier.” Well, if that’s the case, then why don’t they call Mick Mulvaney? He should be on their witness list. If Secretary Pompeo has evidence that there was a policy basis to withhold the aid, and it was discussed, well then why don’t they call him? That’s a relevant fact witness. They don’t want to allow the Chief Justice to decide issues of materiality because they know what they’re trying to do involves witnesses that don’t shed light on the charges against the President. They do satisfy the appetite of their client. But they don’t have probative value to the issues here. So, yes, there are witnesses. Now, the reason they’re not on the President’s witness list is because, if they were truthful under oath, they would incriminate the President. Otherwise, they would be begging to have Mick Mulvaney come testify. Otherwise they would be begging to have the head of OMB, who helped administer the freeze on behalf of the President. Let’s bring him in, he’ll tell you! It was completely innocent. It was all about burden sharing. So why don’t they want the head of OMB in? Why don’t they want their own people in? Because their own people will incriminate the President. But there’s no shortage of relevant, probative witnesses, they just don’t want you to hear what they have to say.
Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s Counsel: Besides the fact that Mr. Schumer said, and it’s on page 675 of the transcript, that “we can call any witnesses we want,” Mr. Schiff just said we can call their witnesses. That’s what he said. We can call their witnesses. Because under their theory, if we wanted to talk to the whistleblower, even in a secure setting, to find out if he in fact may have worked for the Vice President, or may have worked on Ukraine, or may have been in communication with the staff, that’s irrelevant. We can’t talk to Joe Biden or Hunter Biden, because that’s irrelevant. Except the conversation that is the subject matter of this inquiry – the phone call, transcript, that you selectively utilize – has a reference to Hunter Biden. The conversation with Burisma, they raised it for about a half a day, saying there was nothing there. Well, let me find out through cross examination. But I just think the irony of this before we go to dinner that we could call anyone we want except the witnesses we want, but we can call their witnesses that they want. Remember we said the fruit of the poisonous tree? It’s still the fruit of the poisonous tree. Doesn’t get better with age, as I said. But this idea, that this is going to be a fair process – call the witnesses they want, don’t call the witnesses you want, because they’re irrelevant. Maybe irrelevant to them. They are not irrelevant to the President. And they’re not irrelevant to our case.