WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) asked the House Impeachment Mangers about the rationale for not allowing a single witness in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, when the 2010 impeachment trial of Judge Thomas Porteous included 26 witnesses, 17 of whom had not previously testified in the House. Klobuchar was a senator during that trial and voted to remove the judge.
Question: “I was on the trial committee for the last impeachment trial in the Senate, which involved Judge Thomas Porteous who was ultimately removed. During that time, the Senate trial committee heard from 26 witnesses, 17 of whom had not previously testified in the House. What possible reason could there be for allowing 26 witnesses in a judicial impeachment trial and hearing none for a president’s trial?”
“Today, I asked the House Managers about a prior impeachment case I was involved in—the case of Judge Thomas Porteous, who was ultimately removed from his office. In that trial, the Senate heard from 26 witnesses, 17 of whom had not previously testified in the House. This impeachment trial should be no different. It is unconscionable that Republicans continue to deny the American people the opportunity to see relevant documents and hear from witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the president’s conduct.”
The Senate has obtained testimony from witnesses in every impeachment trial conducted in the last 50 years: 21 in the 1986 trial of Judge Harry Claiborne, 55 in the 1989 trial of Judge Alcee L. Hastings, 10 in the 1989 trial of Judge Walter Nixon, and 26 in the 2010 trial of Judge Thomas Porteous. On multiple occasions, the Senate has also gone beyond testimony obtained by the House, including seven witnesses at Walter Nixon’s trial who had not testified before the House, three at Clinton’s trial who also had not testified before the House, and 17 at Porteous’s trial who had not testified before the House.
Earlier today, Klobuchar joined Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in asking the House Impeachment Mangers about the “missing witness” rule. In the 1893 Supreme Court case Graves v. United States, the Supreme Court established the ‘missing-witness’ rule, a precedent that allows one party to obtain an adverse inference against the other for failure to produce a witness under that party’s control with material information. The House Managers confirmed that, because the president has prevented witnesses within his control from testifying or providing documents, senators should assume that their testimony would harm the president’s defense.