WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, last night joined MSNBC’s Brian Williams to discuss the Senate impeachment trial.
“When President Trump issued an order to freeze and withhold aid from Ukraine, he didn't call anyone named Biden. There was no one named Biden working for him in the White House. He discussed it with Mick Mulvaney and with John Bolton. And there are two other folks that we've been trying to get in front of the Senate who work also in the White House who carried these orders out. We don't have the documents, and we don't have the witnesses,” said Senator Coons.
Video and audio available here.
Excerpts from the interview below:
Q: How many Republicans are yes votes, do you think?
Sen. Coons: Well, the question that's right in front of us now that we'll be working through and debating is how many might vote for witnesses, how many might say we want a real and a fair trial, and in particular we'd like to hear from John Bolton. I think that is between three and five at this moment. But frankly there is a bit of exhaustion setting in because of the ten-hour day we just had, the 90 questions that we ground through. It has put a sharp focus on areas that are unresolved. And where having an eyewitness, someone who was literally in the room where it happened, come forward and answer the question, ‘Did President Trump actually order withholding this vitally needed aid to Ukraine in order to leverage it for his own political benefit?’ If we could have an answer to that from John Bolton, I think that would go a long way towards helping the American people and the members of the Senate feel that this was an actual fair trial.
Q: Of course, then you had a guy with a D after his name, Senator Manchin from your caucus, say this morning, started off the news cycle that he wouldn't mind hearing from Hunter Biden. So the big question has been at the end of the day will Republicans, especially those in the moderate sort, actually want to take that vote?
Sen. Coons: I doubt they would because frankly he's not relevant. What we've seen over and over today is ways in which the steadily building pressure for testimony by John Bolton or documents like the notes of Ambassador Taylor would actually answer the question what happened in the White House and what did the President do. When President Trump issued an order to freeze and withhold aid from Ukraine, he didn't call anyone named Biden. There was no one named Biden working for him in the White House. He discussed it with Mick Mulvaney and with John Bolton. And there are two other folks that we've been trying to get in front of the Senate who work also in the White House who carried these orders out. We don't have the documents, and we don't have the witnesses. I'm not sure why my colleague and friend Senator Manchin would think it would be constructive or relevant to go outside and bring in outside concerns which frankly Republicans tried pretty hard on the floor of the Senate to bring up over and over today. But no matter how many times they bring up the name Biden that doesn't make that directly relevant to the issues that are in front of us. What's most relevant is getting to the bottom of what the President did and didn't do. And frankly, Brian, a very striking development just in the last day was that the former Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, publicly said I believe John Bolton. That suggests that he was in the room as Chief of Staff for similar incidents where he saw President Trump order things or make decisions about things that should trouble the American people and make us in the Senate here want to hear from relevant witnesses.