Senators began submitting questions as the next phase of President Trump's impeachment trial opened Wednesday. Officials will have 16 hours over two days to ask questions that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will read aloud from index cards. Impeachment managers and the president's defense team will then have the chance to answer.
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), on behalf of herself and colleagues Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), asked a question about how, if the president had mixed public and private motives for withholding aid to Ukraine, should the Senate consider that fact?
Patrick Philbin, one of the president's defense attorneys, said a mixed-motive does not matter as the charge is not impeachable. He said the House's case rests upon proving the that president's request for investigations was solely for personal reasons and once there is a "legitimate public interest," the managers' case "fails."
Though GOP leadership is still trying to whip enough Senators to block witnesses, public sentiment seems to be shifting. A new Quinnipiac University poll yesterday found 75 percent of registered voters say witnesses should be allowed to testify, including 49 percent of Republicans.
"I don't think we should [feel pressure to hear witnesses], I think we should get this over with," Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C. 11th District) told Cheddar just before the start of today's session.
As questions roll in, it appears Senators are looking to clarify conflicting stories that have been argued back and forth. Both sides can be seen whispering and passing notes while scrambling to come up with quick answers.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif. 28th District), leading the House Managers, clarified to Senators that the House did ask John Bolton to testify, but were refused. "When we subpoenaed Dr. Kupperman, he sued us, took us to court. When we raised a subpoena with John Bolton's counsel, the answer was ‘You serve us with a subpoena and we'll sue you too,’" Schiff said. Charles Kupperman was a former national security advisor to the president and Bolton's deputy.