Senate

Schiff offers to limit time spent on impeachment witnesses

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Thursday offered to limit closed-door depositions for potential witnesses in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial to one week. 
 
“I will make an offer to opposing counsel, who says this will stretch on indefinitely if you decide to have a single witness. Let’s cabin the depositions to one week,” Schiff said from the Senate floor. “I think we can. I think we should. I think we must.” 
 

The offer appeared to be an effort to counter one of the main arguments from Trump’s legal team and Senate Republicans: that opening the door to witnesses will drag out the trial for weeks and months.

 
Trump’s legal team has warned repeatedly during the two-day question-and-answer session that allowing new witnesses would be a legally fraught, time-consuming effort that would not change the outcome of the trial where 67 votes are needed to convict Trump. 
 
Pat Philbin, a member of Trump’s legal team, warned senators on Wednesday that if former national security adviser John Bolton was called Trump would also try to call a “long list” of witnesses. 
 
“It’s not a question of a lot of people talking right now about John Bolton,” he said. “The president would have the opportunity to call his witness, just as a matter of fundamental fairness.” 
 
The Senate will vote on Friday on whether or not to allow new witnesses and documents as part of the trial. Democrats will need to win over four Republican senators in order to call witnesses. 
 
Under the rules for the trial passed last week, any witnesses who senators agree to subpoena would first be deposed behind closed doors. The Senate would then decide if the individual needed to testify. But the rules do not put a cap on how long that process can take. 
 
Tags Adam Schiff Donald Trump Impeachment John Bolton

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