Republican Senator Rand Paul doubled down on his threat to force both Democrats and Republicans in his chamber to go on the record involving additional impeachment witnesses.
In order for Democrats to have their witnesses to be called to testify, they need at least four Republicans to vote in their favor.
Should Democrats score even one witness, Paul said he would force members to go on the record about wanting former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, the whistleblower to testify. Paul said he would also force a vote to hear from Congressman Adam Schiff and potentially members of his office as the whistleblower reportedly spoke to them in private.
As for how these votes would turn out, the Kentucky Republican said it would be political suicide for members who vote against them.
“If you vote against Hunter Biden, you’re voting to lose your election, basically. Seriously. That’s what it is,” Paul said on Wednesday, as Politico reports. “If you don’t want to vote and you think you’re going to have to vote against Hunter Biden, you should just vote against witnesses, period.”
Paul said he would prefer the impeachment trial end without calling forth new witnesses, but, if Democrats want to continue their partisan charade, he is more than happy to continue playing along.
“My first preference would be to be done with it as soon as possible and not to have any witnesses,” Paul said. “If they insist on having people like [U.S. Ambassador John] Bolton coming forward, my insistence will be not just one witness. But that the president should be able to call any witnesses that he deems necessary to his defense.”
Paul’s threat is backed up by real power under the process envisioned by McConnell and allowed for under Senate rules.
After hearing opening arguments and questioning from House impeachment managers and the White House counsel, the Senate is expected to take a vote on whether to consider the witness issue at all, according to senators familiar with McConnell’s plans. If the Senate agrees to hear witnesses, every senator will have the chance to force a motion seeking testimony.
An initial vote to consider witnesses has been sought by GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. If it fails, the trial is likely to head to closing arguments. The question of witnesses might mimic the motion to dismiss impeachment that was considered and rebuffed during former President Bill Clinton’s Senate trial.