National Security Adviser John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s aides are trying to keep more Republicans from caving to the demands of Democrats who want witnesses in the president’s impeachment trial. Taking that step could drag proceedings out for weeks if not months due to legal fights, according to five people familiar with the situation, yet still end up with the same verdict: acquittal.
The outcome isn’t changing,” said Scott Jennings, who worked under President George W. Bush and is close to the Trump White House. “All this maneuvering — there is no point. This is a prudent path forward for the president.
”Many Republicans are eager to wrap up the impeachment trial, which could conclude this week if the Senate doesn’t call witnesses, and return to regular legislative business as they head into an election season. The White House is telling senators that if they don’t resist the call for witnesses, the proceedings could “turn it into a full-fledged trial with multiple witnesses on both sides and drawn out legal battles on evidentiary issues and privilege,” said a Republican close to the White House. That “could drag things out for months“ and become “tough on all incumbents up for reelection.
”The pressure is coming from Trump’s legislative and communications staff, not Trump’s lawyers, according to a person familiar with Trump‘s legal team strategy. Still, the White House strategy on witnesses may not resonate with the few vulnerable Republican senators running for reelection, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who feel pressure to show voters back home that they are trying to hold Trump accountable. Trump has packed his schedule with the announcement of his long-awaited Middle East peace plan, the signing of a trade agreement between Mexico and Canada, campaign rallies and visits of foreign leaders.