The last time Mitch McConnell checked in--last week on Hannity--he sounded confident that GOP unity would hold and that he might gain one or two Dem senators. My view is that the scenario York paints is unlikely simply because it could spell political suicide for any turncoat Republicans. Even for those not facing an election, their betrayal would not be forgotten. I suspect the lessons of the Kavanaugh nomination have been learned. McConnell will be in overall charge.
Here's York's bottom line version:
Schumer is not trying to convince all 53 Senate Republicans to support his proposal. He just needs four. There are 47 Democrats in the Senate. If Schumer can persuade four GOP senators to join Democrats, they'll have a majority of 51 and can force the calling of new witnesses. Of course, Schumer is counting on Democrats voting as a bloc against the president, which is probably a good bet.
If Schumer gets what he wants, it seems hard to believe that will be the end of it. The request for more witnesses appears designed to lead not to closure but to reopening the case against Trump. In this way, if Democrats can introduce new testimony in the trial, they can say the new testimony has raised new questions that will require new investigation. And new investigation will require more new witnesses, which will surely lead to more new questions, which ...
Call it the Brett Kavanaugh model of impeachment. During the Supreme Court justice's confirmation process, a hearing had already been held, and Kavanaugh appeared on the way to joining the court. Then, up popped a new allegation, the Christine Blasey Ford story, and Democrats demanded the case be reopened, witnesses be interviewed, evidence be gathered, and time be taken for more investigation. Republicans acceded to those demands, and the Kavanaugh confirmation careened off course for a while before GOP lawmakers finally got it back on track.
For example: On Monday, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee told a federal court it is essential that grand jury materials from special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation be given to House investigators. Why? Because it might help the impeachment effort. "If the House approves articles of impeachment," the lawyers argued, "relevant grand-jury material that the committee obtains in this litigation could be used during the subsequent Senate proceedings."
If the Judiciary Committee receives the information, there is little doubt its leaders will work with Senate Democrats to create the impression that there is new evidence so compelling that it absolutely must be included in the impeachment trial. And if Republicans disagree, what are they trying to hide?
Indeed, Schumer and his colleagues have prepared the way to characterize any move to limit the trial's scope as an effort to hide wrongdoing from the American people. "To engage in a trial without the facts coming out is to engage in a cover-up," he said Monday.
The bottom line is, Republicans should not believe for one minute that the campaign to remove the president will rely only on the case Democrats have built in the House. Schumer and other party leaders will scramble for new information to throw at the president, and at Republicans, until it is over. The GOP, and the White House, need to be ready.
UPDATE: Looks like Mitch gets it. And by "gets it" I mean that he's internalized the lessons of the Kavanaugh confirmation:
Senate Mitch McConnell dismisses Sen. Chuck Schumer's proposal to call live witnesses: "Those who have been eagerly hoping for impeachment are starting to scramble." https://t.co/gZeA2x1TQ9 pic.twitter.com/HrwZFbhn7E— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 17, 2019