Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) on Tuesday pitched the idea of “witness reciprocity” for the Senate impeachment trial during a meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and other top Senate Republicans.
The idea would allow Republicans and Democrats to summon an equal number of witnesses to testify. For example, if the Democrats subpoena testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton, Republicans would be allowed to summon Hunter Biden in return.
“We’ll be dealing with the witness issue at the appropriate time into the trial. And I think it’s certainly appropriate to point out that both sides would want to call witnesses if they wanted to hear from them,” McConnell commented to reporters. “So if you get to that issue, I can’t imagine that only the witnesses our Democratic colleagues want to call will be called.”
McConnell originally sought to dismiss the articles of impeachment without calling witnesses, angering Democrats who wanted to hear from Bolton before the Senate vote on impeachment. However, several Republican Senators have objected to the notion of dismissing charges before hearing from witnesses.
“Our members generally are not interested in the motion to dismiss,” Senator Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) told reporters on Monday. “They think both sides need to be heard,” and President Trump “deserves an opportunity to get a fair hearing, make his case and I think that’s ultimately what will happen.”
Bolton, who was present at key moments in the Trump administration’s actions regarding Ukraine, had previously indicated he wanted a decision from federal court regarding whether it was appropriate for him to testify. However, in early January the former adviser released a statement saying he would testify if subpoenaed by the Senate.