Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., NY.) dampened any hopes of a potential witness swap in President Trump’s impeachment trial, telling reporters Wednesday afternoon that any potential deal is “off the table.”
“I think it’s off the table,” Schumer said during a break in the second day of opening arguments. “First of all, the Republicans have the right to bring in any witness they want. They haven’t wanted to, and that trade is not on the table.”
Schumer’s comments echoed that of former vice president Joe Biden, who denied while campaigning in Iowa that Senate Democrats were asking him to testify.
“No, they’re not,” he said, adding that he himself was not considering testifying either.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) also dismissed any potential swap, telling reporters that “this isn’t like some fantasy football trade.”
“They want to use this trial to smear the Bidens. That’s not the purpose of the trial and the senators should not allow it to be abused in that way,” Schiff stated.
A Washington Post report Tuesday night cited anonymous sources who said several Senate Democrats were pondering taking up an offer from Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) for “witness reciprocity” by arraigning a deal to have former White House national security adviser John Bolton testify in exchange for Joe or Hunter Biden’s testimony.
“If there are four Republicans who open the conversation about witnesses, then I assume there will be a negotiation that follows — but I can’t tell you where it goes,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said when asked about a possible deal.
President Trump said Wednesday that Bolton, who announced January 6 that he would testify if subpoenaed by the Senate, would cause a “national security problem” if he testified.
The president said that while he “would rather interview Bolton,” the former NSA adviser “knows some of my thoughts, what I think about leaders, what happens if he reveals what I think about a leader and it’s not very positive.”