The Washington Post reported Tuesday night that a group of Democrats are willing to do a "witness swap" with the White House. If the defense offers up former national security adviser John Bolton, the prosecution will allow Joe or Hunter Biden to testify. In a July phone call, President Trump asked Ukraine to launch an investigation into Hunter because he sat on the board of a corrupt Ukrainian gas company. A whistleblower complaint about that phone call led to the impeachment inquiry against Trump, with Democrats alleging he tried to coerce Ukraine for his own political benefit.
Democrats threw cold water on the witness swap rumor Wednesday morning, including Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who was mentioned in the WaPo report. On CNN, Coons said that he was not privy to any discussions that included a "Bolton for Biden" trade.
But CNN anchor John Berman presented him with his own words.
"If you want to give Joe Biden an opportunity to sit in the well of the Senate and answer the question, ‘Do you think the president acted appropriately?’ go right ahead,” Coons is quoted in the WaPo piece.
Coons added that Biden would be more than "comfortable" in the Senate chamber, having spent over three decades as a senator. He tried to walk back those remarks both on TV and on social media.
I’m a lawyer, and here’s what I know: Trials have witnesses, and the witnesses have to be relevant to the case. It isn’t complicated.— Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) January 22, 2020
The President is on trial here, not anyone with the last name Biden. VP Biden and Hunter Biden are not relevant witnesses.
When Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was asked about the potential witness swap, he too insisted that the Bidens are "mere side shows" that would add nothing to the trial.
House Intelligence Chairman and lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff emphasized that point.
"This isn't like some fantasy football trade where we'll offer you a witness who is immaterial," Schiff said in the Senate before senators reconvened for Day Two of the trial.
Every single Democrat-introduced amendment on Tuesday demanding more witness testimony and more documents was rejected by the Senate. So, the Senate is proceeding with their opening arguments.