While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds on to the two articles of impeachment she and her colleagues just passed in the lower chamber, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing for when they make it to the Senate - if ever. Pelosi and other leading Democrats have threatened to withhold the articles until the GOP agrees to their terms.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants McConnell to agree to his requested time limits on each side of the aisle, as well as a whole new set of witnesses, he outlined in a letter last week. Those witnesses include Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton, senior adviser to the acting White House chief of staff Robert Blair, and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey.
As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) observed, Schumer's demands suggest that the Democrats don't exactly have their act together.
"If they don't believe they've developed their factual record, they have every tool at their disposal to say, 'Gosh Chuck Schumer's given me a list of four witnesses we want, we're going to go get those witnesses' testimony,'" Cruz said during a recent Heritage Foundation event.
Republicans like Cruz are left to believe that the Democrats want the Senate to do the House's work for them. Yet, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is "disturbed" with McConnell too after the Republican leader revealed that he plans to work in "total coordination" with the White House on the Senate side of impeachment.
“And in fairness, when I heard that I was disturbed,” Murkowski said before describing that there should be distance between the White House and the Senate in how the trial is conducted. “To me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense, and so I heard what leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that that has further confused the process.”
As of now, Murkowski is undecided.
“For me to prejudge and say there’s nothing there or on the other hand, he should be impeached yesterday, that’s wrong, in my view, that’s wrong," she explained.
The two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, were passed on a partisan basis in the House two weeks ago. Two Democrats defected to vote with Republicans, while presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) voted "present."