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Shelby says House has “a weak hand” in impeachment trial

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Sunday, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, appeared on ABC News’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos to discuss the impending trial. Shelby said at this point “the House had got a weak hand” and wanted the Senate to “re-try their stuff.”

Tuesday, Senators Shelby and Doug Jones, D-Alabama, will join their colleagues in the Senate as they hear the allegations brought by House Democrats against Pres. Donald J. Trump (R). This is only the third impeachment trial of a President in American history.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has suggested that the Senate could hold a trial without calling any witnesses, basing their decision on counsel arguments and the weeks of impeachment hearings that were already held in the House. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-California, are asking instead to be able to call witnesses, including witnesses that were not heard in the House proceedings. Democratic Senators are generally supportive of this request. Stephanopoulos confronted Shelby with comments that the Senator made in 1999 during the impeachment of Pres. William J “Bill” Clinton (D) in which Shelby called for witnesses at that trial and asked Shelby if he is for witnesses in this trial.

“The trial ought to be fair,” Shelby said. “I do have some observation though, at this point. They are early and not conclusive. One it looks to me, at this junction, like the House has got a weak hand. They’re wanting us in the Senate to open up the case and try everything re-try their stuff. We don’t know what’s going to come forth this week.”

“What we do this week and what we hear and what are the facts we hear will probably meet the test and determine whether we get additional witnesses that will help us make a relevant and a fair decision,” Shelby explained.

Stephanopoulos asked if former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s testimony was relevant to this case.

“Well, he could be,” Shelby answered. “He might be. Would he add anything? I don’t know yet. But I would be open to listening to the arguments. And I think that is the only way to be fair to both sides in this case”

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“I think the House rushed to judgement on this,” Shelby said. “They could have pursued this a lot longer, but they made a political decision.? “They’ve got problems now and they want to unwind their problems.”

The decision by the Senate on whether or not to call witnesses, including persons who did not testify during the House impeachment hearings, will decide whether this whole matter can be wrapped up this week or if it is going to drag on into February.

The Democrats in the House have filed two articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In the previous two impeachment trials, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were both cleared of any wrongdoing. The Senate could find the President guilty of one or both of the alleged crimes and elect not to remove Trump from office. If Trump is removed from office, then Vice President Mike Pence (R) would become the 46th President

See the full ABC News interview: Here. 


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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