Why Didn’t Republicans Want Witnesses?

Sarah Grace Goolden

Opinions Editor

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

In December of 2019, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. In February of 2020, he was acquitted. It’s an outcome that many expected from the Republican-controlled senate. However, it was still a big disappointment for many people who expected the president to be held accountable for his actions. 

A huge point of contention during the impeachment was the fact that Democrats really wanted witnesses and Republicans really didn’t witnesses. Eventually, the Republicans won. Both sides had many reasons for their votes.

One of the biggest reasons Democrats pushed for a witness is the fact that every other impeachment trial called witnesses. The fact that the previous two trials were conducted in a certain way leads one to believe that the third should be treated the same way. By omitting witnesses, many believed Trump was given unfair treatment. If Trump was truly innocent of these charges, he should have no problem with allowing it. I believe it makes him look more suspicious. Republicans, apparently, did not. 

Republicans had many reasons for denying witnesses. They believed it would draw out the trial for an unrealistic amount of time. The process of securing a testimony can be a difficult process, especially for such an important trial. This is evident in how difficult it was for House Democrats to try and secure John Bolton. However, this argument begs the question: is it better to have a faster trial or a more accurate one? I believe that the process of such an important event should focus more on calculation than time management. While both are important, the latter definitely trumps the other. 

Another reason is that Republicans thought Democrats should not need witnesses if their case was solid enough. Representative Adam B. Schiff bragged about having an “ironclad” case against Trump. If they were so prepared, why did they need witnesses? I think it’s important to remember that real evidence is a huge part of the impeachment process. There can be documents but real, human conviction can be a lot more compelling. 

The trial has come to its end and we will never know whether or not witnesses would have provided a different outcome. We can only hope that in the future we hold our president to the same standard we hold our citizens to.

Categories: Opinions

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