Former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter could be forced to testify if the Senate moves to hold an impeachment trial of President Trump, according to the Washington Times, citing congressional aides “who questioned whether Democrats have thought through the full implications of their impeachment drive.”
Not only could Mr. Biden be forced to be in D.C. at a critical moment in the presidential campaign, but so could many of his chief rivals — the half-dozen senators also vying for Democrats’ presidential nomination, impeachment experts said.
For that matter, if the House chooses to impeach Mr. Trump on charges stemming from the special counsel’s Russia investigation, aides said it could open the door to witnesses such as fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok or even major figures from the Obama administration.
If the House votes to impeach – a step which Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t committed to yet, then it would move to the Senate for a formal trial in which a 2/3 majority would be required to convict and formally remove President Trump. They would also get to force the whistleblowers accusing Trump of improper behavior to testify publicly, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Graham also suggested that House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) could become a witness in any impeachment trial for hiding his office’s interactions with one of the whistleblowers.
“I don’t think the Dems have thought this through at all,” one staffer told the Times – which notes that the GOP-dominated Senate would have “full control over what an impeachment trial would look like.”
According to George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, a Senate trial would largely be defined by what articles the House passes.
“If Trump is impeached on the Ukrainian call, the Bidens would be fair game, particularly Hunter,” said Turley. “While I do not agree that the evidence supports the allegation against Biden in pushing the termination of the prosecution, there is little question that the Hunter Biden deal smacks of profiteering on his father’s position.”
If House Democrats loop in Russiagate, Turley said things could get even crazier.
Mr. Turley said that could give Mr. Trump a chance to raise all the lingering questions about decisions made by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department and the FBI. Several ongoing investigations are expected to find major fault with how investigators pursued Mr. Trump, beyond the already embarrassing text exchanges between Mr. Strzok and his paramour, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
He said that might explain Mrs. Pelosi’s reluctance to pull the impeachment trigger over the Russia accusations, and her insistence on trying to keep things focused on Ukraine.
“The optics of this Senate trial could be quite grotesque. You could have the Democrats beating Trump with the Ukraine call, you could have Trump beating the Democrats up over Biden,” he said. –Washington Times
According to Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), if the House does impeach Trump, the Senate will be forced to take the matter up, saying “The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader.”
That said, the Examiner suggests that Senate GOP might “allow a spectacle to embarrass Democrats” with how things go.
“Democrats could object, but they’re in the minority and there’s not a lot they can do about that,” said impeachment expert Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina and author of “Impeachment: What Everyone Needs to Know.”
“I expect it’ll be Sen. McConnell’s show. But the president might well say ‘I want to be there, I want to ask questions.”
And of course, the best part according to Gerhardt: “It will be televised.”